November 1, 2017

Me Too: Stepping Past Gender & Blame.

I was scrolling through Facebook 
and saw a new hashtag
did you see it?
Yeah, me too.

I read the copy and paste instructions
and kept scrolling, did you?
Yeah, me too.

Whilst I have been assaulted
and have most definitely been harassed
I’ve talked about it
I’ve processed it
and didn’t feel like repeating it.

Maybe you felt the same way?
Yeah, me too.

Every woman knows this is a problem
so do we have to keep bringing it up?
but the men are surprised
by just how widespread the problem is.

So I guess the conversation is needed.
I guess I can wade through these many posts,
can you?
Yeah, me too.

But wait!
There’s something emerging from these stories.
Did you see them? These new perspectives?
Yeah, me too.

There are stories of women abused by women,
men abused by men,
and even men
abused by women.

As the conversation shifted I was surprised. Were you?
Yeah, me too.

I realised it was easy to get onboard the viral train
and add my stories as just the same,
to be the woman, the victim
and make men to blame.
But what I was seeing
was a complicated web of shame.

So I thought beyond gender
and my own pain,
I thought beyond being the victim
to where I’d done the same.

I thought back to the times
I had ogled men,
turned their bodies into a prize
about which I could gloat
to my friends.

I thought back to the times
a partner of mine
was tired or cranky
or wasn’t turned on,
but he didn’t have the words…

and as a master manipulator
I took from him
in the silence.

It was then that I realised
I was no better
than those men
who took forcefully
from me
in my silence.

Then I took a deep breath,
and I surveyed the damage.
And I pondered
why we humans
cause each other such damage.

Why do some men look at my body like a plaything?
Where did they learn this?

Why have I looked at some men like their body was my plaything?
Where did I learn this?

And beyond all this,
beyond the cause of the problem,
I pondered and
wanted to know:
what was a possible solution?

What will it take for you and me to love
and honour
the humans around thee?

What will it take
for you and me to honour the “no” of any person,
at any time,
on any matter
(not just sex alone)?

And what will it take
for you and me to demand
and expect
the same in return?

I think the answer is simple,
(and perhaps not as easy as it sounds),
this solution has just two words,
just like our viral campaign.

and courage.

Love for ourselves
to speak up for needs and wants
our yes’s and no’s
and the courage to stick to them.

And love for the other
regardless of gender
to hear their needs and wants
their yes’s and no’s
and the courage to honour them.

That’s the world I want to live in.
Do you?
Yeah, me too.



Author: Caroline Southwell
Image: Twitter
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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Caroline Southwell