Your Sexual Harassment Experiences Count, Even If You Think They Don't

Just one day after Alyssa Milano tweeted, "If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet," Twitter confirmed that #MeToo had been tweeted more than half a million times, CNN reports. On Facebook, more than 12 million #MeToo posts, comments, and reactions showed up in the same 24-hour period.
The tag is meant to show how widespread the problem of sexual assault and harassment really is, in the wake of allegations against Hollywood giant Harvey Weinstein. Yet, there's a good chance the problem is even greater than these numbers show because, as Twitter user Leena Norms posted on Monday, some people don't think their experiences are "bad enough" to comment #MeToo.
Norms wrote that because she's never been raped or "had anything happen to me that the police would 'file a report for,'" she didn't feel that her experiences of harassment were worth sharing along with those who had. But, she realized, she has been experiencing small moments of harassment her whole life — and it's important to speak out about those, too.
Even though all of these horrible things have happened to her — threats of rape, non-consensual touching, and inappropriate comments — she still didn't feel that it was "a big deal." As Norms wrote, she feels that she got off easy compared to some of her friends and didn't think it was worth adding her voice to the millions of others speaking out.
For women like Norms, silence felt like the best way to support women who have been raped or "had it worse" in some way. But she decided to speak out because she realized that those everyday moments of sexual harassment are still harassment, and we need to talk about them if we're ever going to move past the idea that a man sticking his hand up a woman's skirt or a teacher making inappropriate comments about a student's appearance is "normal."
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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