#MeToo. Five letters, two simple words and a whole lot of hurt. On Oct. 15, actress Alyssa Milano made the following post on Twitter: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” In the days and weeks following Milano’s post, millions of people shared their stories or simply the hashtag on various social media platforms, revealing the magnitude of the problem.
The idea of “me too” actually started about 10 years ago when Tarana Burke, a social activist and community organizer, used it as part of a campaign to encourage “empowerment through empathy.” She focused on women of color who have been sexually abused, especially in underprivileged communities. But when Milano posted the hashtag, she sparked a #MeToo movement which has revealed the ugly face of a monster which affects so many.
Instead of men and women keeping these emotional, mental and/or physical scars hidden, they are bringing them out into the light. They have exposed the darkness of a sinful world from which we so often want to shield our eyes.
Submitted by an anonymous Dordt contributor, the following letter shares one person’s perspective on the #MeToo movement.
By the grace of God, somehow, I have not gone through the unimaginable horror of being sexually assaulted. But I watched today as my Facebook feed filled up with two little words, only five total letters, five letters that required more bravery than I could comprehend. Five letters spoken by both men and women who have experienced more evil than I will ever begin to understand, five letters conveying a meaning I cannot fully grasp: “Me too.”
And each one was a separate punch to my gut. Each one was another time I silently whispered to myself, “No, no, no.” Each one another realization of what I will never fully know; because, for each person brave enough to share their story, so many more are keeping their stories to themselves. Whether out of fear or pain or simply a desire to maintain control over their stories when the story tells of how control was taken away from them, so many people who have experienced sexual assault choose not to share. And I think this is part of the idea of this movement; to shed a little more light on the enormity of this problem, to show us that far more people than we realize are holding on to far more pain than what humans should have the capacity to hold.
But there’s something I want to say, to each and every one of the men and women who stopped their days long enough to write five little letters and click a button to give those letters up to the world: You are loved. If your story floated onto my news feed today, it means that you are someone I love, and I love you deeply, and I love you all the more for your bravery in sharing with me your own five letters. And even if your story never made it online, if you are one of the many people who walk around this campus carrying the weight of your secret all by yourself, that’s OK: for you, too, are loved. Even if you have chosen not to share your story – with the internet, with me or with anyone at all – you are loved. And even if I do not know you, if I have never met you, if I have never heard your story, if I have failed to love you well in my words and in my deeds – you are loved. For where my heart would split apart if I tried to deeply and fully care for you, we, as brothers and sisters united in Christ, serve a God who never fails to love you fully. We serve a God who sees your brokenness, your pain, your scars and your memories and your anger and your sadness – and He loves you more intricately and more wonderfully than I ever could and He loves you not in spite of whatever you have experienced but rather through what you have experienced. He loves you in your pain. My love is fickle and temporary, but the love of our God is infinite and eternal. And in the love of our precious Savior, you have value. In this you have worth. In this we have a hope, of a new Heavens and a new Earth, of a Kingdom in which this can never happen again. In this, I pray, you may also have healing. I am grateful for, and blessed by, the people on this campus who have allowed me into their hurt, and thus allowed me into their healing. But even if I never hear your story: Please, please, please know – you are wholly loved by our Holy God.