Me, too. For the last couple of days, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have streamed the phrase, “Me, too,” ever since actress Alyssa Milano began a social movement, encouraging women who’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted to raise awareness about its prevalence by posting the phrase on their social networks.
Initially, I felt resistant. I wasn’t hesitant about disclosing my experience. Nor was I opposed to standing publicly and sharing in the pain of victims of unwanted sexual aggression or violence. I was worried a hashtag might trivialize such a heinous, personal act, that “Me, too” would become the next internet meme. I couldn’t bear the thought of my loved ones’ bravely shared stories being reduced to a tally mark. Not for this—they are too precious to me. Too important.
For me, though, it ended up being something else. Each time someone I knew joined the movement, I felt grief. I re-read their name. I allowed the sorrow to seep into the deeper places of my heart for what they endured and simultaneously felt gratitude for those who felt safe enough to say, definitively, “This happened.” And I felt solidarity with those who have shared this experience, but decided to remain bravely silent, privately saying, “Me, too.”
I also felt hope. Hope that this movement might be the final silencing of the “If onlys.” So many survivors, myself included, have entertained different scenarios in which we could have prevented the assault. ’If only I hadn’t walked down that street.’ ‘If only I hadn’t gone to that party.’ ‘If only I hadn’t gone into that dorm.’ ‘If only I hadn’t said that thing.’ If only. My hope is that the hundreds of thousands of others saying, “Me, too,” can silence the sense of responsibility the “If onlys” speak over us.
And you are not alone.
Joining this movement didn’t make these beloved people anonymous, as I feared. While the sheer volume of participants IS better exposing the epidemic, it is also inviting me to say to the people whose stories linger in my heart, “You’re not alone.” #MeToo.
You are not alone. I am with you. I have a sense of what you’re facing. This is their shame, not yours. This does not have the power to define or rename you. What happened to you is evil, and is an assault to God’s design for his humanity. It assaults God’s intended shalom for us—his experience of welcome, dignity, and equality.
And perhaps surprisingly, and more importantly, Jesus also says, “You are not alone. #MeToo.”
Just before Jesus was crucified on the cross, he was stripped naked. His genitals were publicly exposed. His perpetrators intended to humiliate him. They attacked his purity and dignity.
Jesus can relate. He does not minimize or ignore what has happened to you. He promises to draw near to you–to be your ever-present help in trouble. To be your comfort and strength.
He will not leave you, but instead says, “Me, too.”