2017-10-17 – I’ve seen all the me-toos on my Facebook feed. It makes me sad. And here’s what I have to say:
Now I am totally aware that a man saying me too is kinda like saying “all lives matter” when someone says “black lives matter.” That’s why I didn’t put this in my feed. It requires some discussion.
My me-too experience occurred when I was in middle school. A couple of the older high-school boys took a couple of us younger boys to a “fort” that was constructed in a field out of cast-off building materials. There was one way in and once we were in we were trapped. There was no other exit. The older boys made us younger boys drop our pants as an “initiation.” We refused, but they demanded compliance before we could get out of there. They then played with our junk momentarily and then told us to get out of there. There was no “club” to be initiated into.
I did not regard this as sexual abuse. At the time, I wouldn’t have even known what “sexual abuse” meant. But I did know what bullying was. I was the small kid and was subject to bullying periodically. Sometimes “because” I was Jewish. Sometimes “because” I was small. This was bullying, at the very least.
My purpose here is not to elevate my experience to more than it was. I’m not here to say that I was sexually abused because, as I said, I did not process the experience that way. But the memory of the event certainly stayed with me. Maybe it contributes to my solidarity with people who have been victimized by bullies, through no fault of their own.
It has often been said that rapists are not after sex. It has often been said that they get their jollies by exerting power over their victim. I don’t know if I fully agree with that. If it is just an act of power, then sex is the instrument of that power. But if my experience is at all parallel, it was certainly about the power of a couple of high-school guys to exert power over a couple of younger boys.
So much in our world today is about the one-sided exertion of power. That’s really what Black Lives Matter is all about. That’s what the protest over the Harvey Weinstein revelation is all about.
The all-lives-matter folks used their slogan to try to minimize black victimization. But what if all of us who have suffered at the hands of bullies of whatever type were to band together—instead of competing to see whose suffering was worse? What if we joined hands to say stop?
We have a culture that gives a pass to bullies in many areas. And it seems to me that the kind of person who victimize me in that “fort” long ago is the same kind of person who victimizes women and people of color. This needs to stop across the board. We need to stick together to make it happen.
At least that’s what I mean when I say “me to.”