First thought: Today the daylong is two minutes and three seconds longer than yesterday. Second…
WHO DOES THE SHAME BELONG TO?
I’m a bit haunted by all of this unfolding these last few days, the ME, TOO unfurling and the three issues I have with this campaign while recognizing its unprecedented power in unifying women in their survivorship and raising awareness of the issues of sexual assault and harassment. It’s profoundly powerful in its equal impact of both empowering all of us while potentially breaking our hearts. I have tremendous respect for all of the women who have shared their experiences and equal respect for those women who have chosen to honor themselves by not joining this campaign. Beyond feeling galvanized and somewhat shattered simultaneously, what haunts me beyond the sheer commonality of these experiences is the threading of embarrassment and even shame some of us feel in having publicly shared these experiences. I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating shame, digging into it and its silent, debilitating grasp after years of living in it, after too many experiences of it being used to lessen me to even bother you with the specifics of those experiences here.
What I come back to again and again is that if any one of us is feeling ashamed for what we have endured or survived at the hands of another, I feel the need to state that that shame does not belong to us.
There is no shame in surviving what we did not choose for ourselves.
The shame belongs to the abusers, harassers, predators and their enablers.
I refuse to be ashamed for what happened to me, to carry the burden of shame that belongs to those who dismissed me and my humanity and in one instance nearly killed me. The shame belongs to the predator, not the survivor, so if any part of you is circling the feeling of being ashamed for what was done to you, please remember that your survival, and you within it, are all of great strength, courage and beauty.