Life After #MeToo – The First 72 Hours
By Kat Duesterhaus
What’s life like after telling thousands of people your #metoo story of sexual violence?
Last week, I published the very graphic and true #metoo story about being raped by 5 men when I was 14 years old. Here’s my Life After #MeToo – The First 72 Hours after I clicked “Publish.”
Life After #MeToo – That Night
🤭Thought: “?!!…. I just did that.?!!”
🙀 Immediate panic.
😇 Reassured myself I was doing the right thing.
😏 Put my phone down so I wouldn’t be obsessively monitoring reactions/comments.
😳 Picked my phone up an hour later, and saw a friend commented asking if I had looked up my rapists on social media.
🤯 Thought for the first time, about what it would be like to see my rapists on social media.
😿 Worked my way under the futon where my kitty who is dying has hunkered down, and cried — because despite how much I have healed it wasn’t an effortless thing to share such intimate details about my history… and because I am losing my feline friend.
😖 Shortly after laying down for the night, my entire body spasmed in a single violent shudder of remembrance. It was a physical flashback of being assaulted.
Life After #MeToo: The First 24 Hours
👋🏼 Woke up.
👍🏼/😦 Felt encouraged reading comments, and at the same time felt emotionally drained.
🏃🏼♀️ Ran some errands.
🤔 Wondered how people would know what was appropriate for reacting to my #metoo sharing.
🤔🍕🤤🍕🍕 Pondered that some more, while I ate some pizza.
🤷🏼♀️ Dyed my hair rainbow colors, just for kicks.
😻 Received messages of encouragement and support from friends and fellow survivors.
😼✍🏼 Wrote the draft for “I say #metoo, you say what?”
🍕🍕🍕🤤 Ate the rest of the pizza.
Life After Sharing My #MeToo Story: The First 48 Hours
🙋🏼♀️🙋🏼♂️ Went to lunch with a friend.
🤦🏼♀️ Discussed with him why the #metoo movement didn’t indicate a recent spike in the number of victims, but finally revealed the true number of victims of sexual violence which were always there, but have historically been swept under the rug.
🗣 But now, people everywhere are coming out of the “#metoo closet” of oppression through sexual violence …and our collective shout is “We’re here, #metoo, now let’s change it!”
👊🏼 Published “I say #metoo, you say what?”
😐 After, I attended a client’s event, working for the first time since publicly sharing my #metoo survivor of sexual violence story.
😻🤗 While I was out, a couple more people bravely shared with me their story of survivorship. I felt grateful they opened up to me and we connected deeply.
💖 Got the chills when I read this comment from a friend: “Thank you I have actually spoken to a few women who have been moved by what you said. They decided to reveal the abuses that they have faced so they can deal with them.”
💪🏼😾 Went to meet another friend, who is a current victim of domestic violence. Made sure she knows where to go for help 24/7… sexual violence comes in several forms, and domestic violence is one of them.
Life After #MeToo: The First 72 Hours
😑 Woke up after 12 hours of sleep.
🤔🙏🏼 First I thought about my friend, and chose to stay positive that she will be able to escape her abuser.
😒 Noticed I had received three missed calls without a voice mail, from an unfamiliar number.
😻 Received a message from Sarah with the Willow Project. She had read my story and wanted to know if I would come and speak to the young women in their program.
💃🏼 Then I sent the following reply to Sarah: “It would be my honor.”
🤷🏼♀️ Next I called back the number that had called me three times. A man answered. I said “Hi, I’ve missed a few phone calls from this number.” He asked me what company I was with, and I replied “My name is Kat Duesterhaus and I’m the owner of Social Butterfly Agency.” He said he was trying to call the Geek Squad, so I told him he had the wrong number and then hung up.
🙅🏼♀️ Blocked his number when he called a 4th time.
🤦🏼♀️💪🏼 Realized I may be additionally targeted now that I am publicly speaking out against sexual violence. Reminded myself to always be aware, and trust my intuition/instincts.
👩🏻🏫🍕😻 Met TreasureCoast.com Editor Cyndi Lenz over more pizza, pineapple this time. Clearly, I love pizza.
🤸🏼♀️ Booked my first workshop for young women for February 12, 2018, with the young women in the Willow Project program.
😼 Made some coffee and wrote this article.
Aside from the flashback, it’s pretty much been life as usual…
Thanks for reading! ~💖😸
Life After #MeToo – The First 72 Hours by Kat Duesterhaus, TreasureCoast.com reporter
Note: The Willow Project is a Project LIFT’s program for at-risk teen girls who have been victims of traumatic circumstances. Their 14-week program provides the young ladies with mental health counseling, mentoring, professional and vocational skill development, health and wellness workshops, and community service projects.