In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandals, there’s a hashtag going around called #MeToo, where women share their stories of sexual harassment/assault whether it’s in the workplace, public life, school, the streets, or home. As I’ve stated many times before, I don’t often give people a glimpse into my past because of my schizophrenia and how talking about it actually makes the numb feeling worse. But after seeing so many of my friends come out with stories like this, I feel empowered to talk about it as well. Granted, I’m not a woman, but this isn’t an issue exclusive to one gender. So now, I will recall for you, my lovely audience, the first time I’ve experienced sexual harassment.
I was fourteen years old and going to high school in
(where the big boys play, apparently). Every once and a while, the school would
have Spirit Day, where students dress up in a certain couture to show their
school spirit (which I had none of, because I fucking hated school). That day’s
apparel was pajamas, which I didn’t wear. And because of this, a girl snuck up
behind me and said, “Hey, where’re your pajamas today?” before grabbing my ass
and laughing with her friend. I never turned around to see who did it and
therefore couldn’t report anybody. Instead, all I had was a heedful of trauma
and no way to get rid of the stress. I couldn’t concentrate on schoolwork or
creative activities. Whenever I’d watch my favorite TV shows, I’d just blank
out and forget what happened. I began to think that I was becoming gradually
stupid because of this mind fuckery. As someone who prided myself on A’s and
B’s, taking away my intelligence was personal to me. I wanted revenge, but with
no face to direct my fists to, it never was. Chehalis, Washington
It was the first time I’d been harassed, but not the last. My freshman year was based on beating the shit out of students who spread lies about me dating an ugly woman (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but a lie is a lie and sexual harassment is sexual harassment). Since then, I’ve been mooned by marines, hit on by fat gay guys, and stalked by ex-girlfriends. I won’t go into the intense details of those encounters, but they sucked just as badly as my first time. Even now as I type this, my prophecy about bad memories coming back is coming true. Hopefully, my audience will learn something from this and my self-triggering won’t be in vain.
But then there’s another reason why I was hesitant to write this: because I’d feel like a hypocrite if I did. In addition to being the victim of sexual harassment, I’ve also been an unintentional perpetrator. I never wanted to be that guy, but sometimes I’d crack an obscene joke that would make the people around me uncomfortable. I used to have a Deviant Art friend who photographed fetish models. Some of those accidentally stinging comments were directed at her and her models. We haven’t spoken since then. It’s the reason why I’m shy around women in the first place: I don’t want to offend them and become that monster again. Even something as simple as saying, “You’re beautiful” can be hurtful. I don’t like hurting people. I like being good to them and making them feel respected. For all the people I’ve offended with my comments, I’m sorry. I could say I’m sorry a thousand times, but it wouldn’t be enough for me. I’ve been in those shoes before and I don’t want to put anybody else in them.
Let these stories be a lesson to everybody out there. If someone tells you to stop, you’d better stop. If they’re not capable of telling you to stop, don’t cross that Moral Event Horizon and become the next Brock Turner. I’ve never crossed the Moral Event Horizon, but I still feel terrible every time I think about the women I’ve hurt with my crass jokes. Be careful about what you say and do to the people around you. Don’t become the next Harvey Weinstein or Donald Trump, two men who can never be forgiven for their sins. It’s not worth the heartache. It’s not worth the lack of concentration. It’s not worth feeling stupid over. Think before you speak, think before you act.
***LYRICS OF THE DAY***
“From morning to night, I stayed out of sight. Didn’t recognize I’d become no more than alive. I’d barely survive. In a word, overrun. Won’t hear a sound from my mouth. I’ve spent too long on the inside-out. My skin is cold to the human touch. This bleeding heart’s not beating much. I’ve murmured a vow of silence and now I don’t even hear when I think aloud. Extinguished by light, I turn on the night when it’s darkness with an empty smile.
-Pink Floyd singing “Wearing the Inside Out”-