When an actor named Alyssa Milano told her personal story of sexual assault in October 2017 and added "#metoo," the hashtag began to rapidly trend online. It provided women and men a platform to tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault. Milano had the idea to start #metoo from a friend, for women and men to share their stories, simply identify as a victim, or know that they are not alone and to let others know how rampant the problem is. This message of support has encouraged many people to tell their similar stories.
A very close friend of ours - a young woman - wrote the following piece in response. May God encourage you to tell your story. And be sure to journey with someone who can walk with you into the pain and into the healing that the good news of Jesus' gospel gives.
"I grew up in the safety of a family, with a protective, loving father and equally protective brothers who made sure I knew I was valuable. They gave me reason to believe that I could trust men. But reality strikes as a woman walks outside. Comments, advancements, and unwanted touches have led me to be far more fearful than trusting. And I am not alone. Many girls and women, [and sometimes even boys], experience it in far worse ways, but not just outside, sometimes in their homes. It makes my heart so sad to know that so many live in constant fear.
(One small example of how fear affects daily life for me is: since moving where I live now, I have not run on my own due to fear, and I hate that! I love running on my own, especially in the forest! I hate that we are robbed of those simple joys. How much more do other women experience this?)
This a call out. This is a call for all to remember that we are made in the image of God, that we are intrinsically valuable. We are not objects. We are human. Protect and care for one another. Speak out against violence. Teach value. Let us truly love one another!"