In the new era of #metoo many are being forced out of #notme bubble. Every day on the news we hear about another famous, powerful person being accused of sexual misconduct. The media is spending hours upon hours a day covering the politicians, the news anchors, the media moguls and the accuser’s stories. While the Silence Breaker’s movement is, powerful and can make real positive changes it also can have a negative impact and is being covered in a very irresponsible way. At the age of 35 I am now being forced to face my rape that took place when I was 14 because I was living in the “not me” bubble. At the age of 14 growing up in a conservative family, upscale neighborhood, attending a private catholic school reporting sexual assault was never an option.
The question of what will people think of me, will people believe me, did I say no, will the neighbors still talk to my parents, will my parents still love me? So, at the age of 14 not mature enough to process anything that happened physically, mentally emotionally I made the decision to lock it away. Never to speak of it again until now. The constant stories that are being written about in newspapers, blogs and reported on the TV has triggered memories that I pushed into a box and never thought I would have to acknowledge the trauma that happened to me. What isn’t discussed are the side effects of the “not me” bubble. I panic going into confined places, I flinch if some stranger touches me or stands too close. I still to this day look to see if I will see his face in the crowd, I can’t listen to the song that was blasting during the assault so no one would hear me. For years’ friends and family would question me about these quirks of mine and the bubble would push the words I was raped deep down. At the age of 14 I never imagined losing my virginity to a stranger as I was in and out of consciousness. I never imagined the emotional and physical toll it would take on me. I never imagined that 20 years later instead of fond memories of what some consider a loving and memorable moment I would be getting flash backs of that horrific night of falling downstairs and being forced to clean up the "mess" I made on a bed I don't remember lying down on in a house I didn't know the address to. I never imagined that 20 years later my "not me" bubble would burst and I would go from joking and laughing one minute to paralyzed in fear in the next minute. I never imagined the shame that would follow me all these years later and the sadness that haunts me. I certainly never imagined that I would ever say me too and I never imagined I would be using my voice to now say ME TOO...
With the #metoo phenomenon the question of why did they wait so long? Why now? But the media instead of having rape counselors, survivors, psychiatrists on their shows to answer these questions, are replying with opinions and “I don’t know”. News organizations need to realize they aren't reporting on opinion pieces but how important it is for all of us who are now reliving a trauma to have professionals explain why some stay silent, others come forward and why these actions not only continue to happen but are occurring at such a high rate. Currently RAINN.org shows that 1 in 4 women will be raped in their lifetime. If we are going to have this conversation and make serious changes, we have the responsibility to answer these questions with experts and facts so that the 14-year-old me isn’t worrying about not being believed. If we want to break the silence, we need to educate those on why they stayed silent for so long. If we are going to talk about sexual violence on TV all day everyday it irresponsible not to promote support and resources for those of us whose “not me” bubble is being popped into the reality of #metoo.
If we are going to be the movement of Silence Breakers we need to be prepared for the backlash, to be able to help those that are vocal about their down with the brave men and women who are coming forward and experiencing their trauma all over again. If this movement is popping people's bubbles we as a society need to ensure that they are being heard, respected and believed. Every day we hear about a new powerful, famous person being accused of sexual assault but we are not hearing about legal limitations, anonymous hotlines to call, and all of the amazing local resources available to those who do not want to say out loud " me too", or that just had their "not me" bubble burst. This movement is so important and has the opportunity to make great strides and help those who have endured trauma and silently carrying around the scarlet letter. Instead of teaching girls what not to wear, we need to stop teaching boys not to rape. Instead of victim shaming we should be shaming the assaulter. Instead of casting even the shadow of a doubt on the brave survivor that stood up and said me too, we need to be acknowledging how incredibly strong they are. What you wore didn't cause you to be assaulted, what you drank didn't cause you to be assaulted, your location didn't cause you to be assaulted, your sexual history didn't cause you to be assaulted. The person who assaulted you is to be blamed for your assault. The #metoo movement has allowed survivors to see they are not alone and to feel safe in numbers but what are we doing as a society to make sure their voices are not only being heard but believed? At the age of 35 I am not only able to say ME TOO but I can say it without feeling shamed.
To all you “not me”, I see you, I hear you, I believe you, I stand with you, I speak for you. Ryan Alyse.
Contributing Editor: Ryan David
My name is Ryan David and I am from the Boston area. I am a 35-year-old mom to an amazing daughter. I am an outspoken advocate and use my wit and sass to get the important facts across. I work in the healthcare field and use my experience and knowledge to help educate others with the real- life issues that occurring today either on my website www.donaldtrumpnewstoday.com my incredibly funny podcast #icant or on twitter @Irishrygirl