I am too embarrassed to #MeToo


By Priscilla H. Douglas 

A:  I have been “Weinsteined” but I am too ashamed to tell my story.  My colleagues will treat me differently, right?   

Q:  I don’t think that your colleagues will treat you differently.  I think that they will listen and provide support.  As you read the “#MeToo” stories, notice the overwhelmingly positive response and support. We can thank Tarana Burke for starting the MeToo movement ten years ago and Alyssa Milano for taking it viral.  It’s possible that one of your colleagues is buoyed by the movement; it’s even possible that one, like you, has been the victim of sexual harassment or abuse.  

Women and their male allies are now contrite and disgusted that they fell prey to the workplace norm that for oh-so-many years was dismissed as “this is how it is” or “this is what it takes.”  So many of us turned a blind eye or made excuses for inappropriate touching, predatory behavior and lewd comments.  Now it seems we have passed a cultural milestone and collectively are agreeing to stop accepting excuses such as   “locker room behavior,” “she asked for it,” or “when you are a star they let you do anything.”

Now the brave actions of women and men who are ready and willing to speak are now being lauded for their courage, causing others to emerge from silence.  For example, Quentin Tarantino who collaborated with Harvey Weinstein, now wishes that he said something—did something.

Here is valuable advice and perspective from Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o. She would urge you to speak out and not let embarrassment keep you silent.  Here are her words:  

What I am most interested in now is combating the shame we go through that keeps us isolated and allows for harm to continue to be done. I wish I had known that there were women in the business I could have talked to. I wish I had known that there were ears to hear me. That justice could be served. There is clearly power in numbers. I thank the women who have spoken up and given me the strength to revisit this unfortunate moment in my past. 

…. I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed. That’s why we don’t speak up — for fear of suffering twice, and for fear of being labeled and characterized by our moment of powerlessness. …. by speaking up, speaking out and speaking together, we regain that power.

Now that we are speaking, let us never shut up about this kind of thing. 

You voice counts.   Abusers are being fired at Nickelodeon, Fidelity Investments and Amazon Studios.  More are certain to come.

You are not alone.  You will know when you are ready to tell your story.  I hope that you find your find strength as you read the countless “me too” stories.   No need to rush.  We
will be here for you.

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