October 2017 is when Alyssa Milano, an actress, sparked a media frenzy by tweeting #MeToo as a call for all victims of sexual harassment to come forth and speak out against the injustice that happened to them by simply responding to her tweet with the hashtag. And it took off like a whirlwind! Women (and men) of all ages, size, race, culture, religion, economic background started tweeting #MeToo from all over the world.
Soon after it was discovered that the hashtag, now ‘movement’, was actually originated by Tarana Burke, a woman of color, some 12 years earlier. Ms. Burke was sexually assaulted and started the #MeToo as a conversation for other survivors to come together in unity to support one another. But the movement did not get national exposure until the tweet by Alyssa a decade later.
For about 5 months following that tweet in October 2017, accusations against powerful men in Hollywood, politics, media, etc. came to the forefront. Men we all looked up to and admired in some aspect in their professional roles were now publicly ousted for being a sexual predator.
Our timelines were flooded with the hashtag—good, bad or indifferent. Men having to defend their character, women having to fight even harder to secure their spot in the boardroom.
The #MeToo grew from a hashtag to a movement in a matter of minutes! Seriously. It grew from sexual assault to sexual harassment to false accusations to the butt of all jokes to hashtags that refute charges (#NotMe). There were hashtags created as a spin off to #MeToo, such as #TimesUp or #Aha or #Silencebreakers.
Then other groups felt left out of the circle of conversation and began to ride the gravy train by announcing that their voices are worth being heard too. Adults who were sexually abused as kids groups, domestic violence groups, men who were sexually abused groups, men who were falsely accused groups…
I mean, for the past 4-5 months to date of this post, the emotional energy has been on an all-time high, just like any other political agenda in our media circuit—magazine covers, women marches, #MeToo bracelets and t-shirts—it just exploded all over the world. #NowWhat
People with huge followings and of great influence took to their platforms to either defend or offend the #MeToo movement.
Oprah’s famous speech while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille’s lifetime achievement award was so compelling that it sparked yet another hashtag, #OprahforPresident. #NowWhat
“What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” -Oprah Winfrey
Out of all of the hoopla going on in the press, Tarana Burke seems to get it.
“It will take more than a hashtag, however meaningful it has become, to do the real work that is needed now. It’s also people’s lives. It’s a very touchy, private, deeply personal thing.” -Tarana Burke
#MeToo goes beyond a public or private apology; it goes beyond saying the hashtag #MeToo; it goes beyond losing careers, ruining reputations, or public embarrassment. Because all of that sh*t is repairable! #NowWhat
When the headlines stop…
When the predators retreat…
When the closet pedophiles go back in hiding…
When the world has moved on…
When the lights go off…
While the world has moved on to the next hot thing, victims of the real #MeToo are left to fend for themselves #again. They are left to pick up the broken pieces #again. Survivors are left to be victimized all over #again. So, I ask again, #NowWhat?
We still have kids being raped. We still have men being sodomized. We still have homosexuals being abandoned by the church. There is still injustice because HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE. The cycle of abuse is real. Passed down from generation to generation. #NowWhat
Homeless people in a broke nation. As I walk around in this world, and I go to the local grocery store or post office or movie theater… or walk the streets of my neighborhood… I see zombies walking around, bleeding all over their fancy suits and pretty dresses. Looking very made up.. Hair done, nails done, feet done, looking fly and on fleek while dying on the inside because of their #MeToo story. #NowWhat
We live in a culture where a husband can smack his wife in the mouth for speaking out of turn is normalized.
A little girl can be raped by her mother or father or sister or brother or uncle is normalized.
A little boy can be locked in the closet and starved to death for leaving his toy out on the floor is normalized. #MeToo #NowWhat
Wendy Williams, a TV talkshow host, made a bold declaration on her platform by saying she’s sick and tired of the #MeToo movement (Read more). Well guess what Mrs. Williams, SO ARE WE!!! We, the #MeToo’s in the world, are sick and tired of having to defend ourselves from predators and the likes of you who try to diminish our worth. Of course, you will say you didn’t “mean it like that” (Read her recant). And I call you on your bullshit! #NowWhat
Who will fight for us? Who will be our voice beyond the headlines and hashtags? When no one no longer cares about our #MeToo story? When we are told yet again to get over it? When we are told yet again that this is just how it is? Who will fight for us? #MeToo #NowWhat
When I was about 15 years old, my then-stepfather choked me out. He slammed me down on the living room floor, put his foot on my throat and closed off my air supply with his alligator shoes. The cops were called; and the words that cop said to a beaten, crying 15-year-old girl who had been raped when she was five years old still gives me chills today. He said, “You got a bad attitude. You need to learn your place and stop talking back.” Then he walked away. He, the officer of the law who is supposed to protect citizens, left me beaten and bruised. I knew in that very moment that I had to save myself.
This ain’t even half of my #MeToo story. I don’t look like what I’ve been through and I’ll tell you the secret sauce in a minute.
It took years for me to heal from the emotional scars of my past. But I could not have done it without God. That secret sauce I alluded to earlier is my faith. My grandmother (R.I.P.) and mother made sure that we were in church every Sunday. They knew that our lives at home were filled with dark secrets, but they yet instilled in us a foundation of trusting God through it all. The powerful women of faith taught their children to put their trust in God. They told us often that man will fail us, disappoint us, hurt us and let us down. But God never fails.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Knowing what I knew about God, I could no longer sit in my pain. I could no longer sit back and watch what happened to me keep happening to God’s children (young and old). This is what I meant by “saving myself”. I had to do something to heal. Hurt people hurt people. But healed people heal others. #NowWhat? Now is the time for the healers to rise and stand firmly in our faith to heal others.
But how do we do that? This…
I got up out of my sickness and found a solid support system. One that prayed for me when I was too broken to pray for myself. One that believed for me when I couldn’t believe in myself. When my self-esteem was shattered, when my heart was broken, when my self-worth was nonexistent.. I had a support system that held me up and carried me through my dark period of pain.
Romans 15:1 says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
And now, I am that support system. Each one, teach one, reach one.
Now I, along with my other survivor friends, show victims of #MeToo how to live beyond the pain into their healing. That is #NowWhat!!
How to Pick Up the Pieces
When you are left alone to pick up the pieces alone, which will happen
When no one wants to hear your story, which they rarely do
When the noise quiets down, and you’re left with the negative voices in your head
Here’s what you do…
#1 PRAY – know that you are important to God. I often tell my survivor friends that I am not defined by my past, I am refined by it. What happened to me, and all of the bad sh*t that I’ve done to others, does not take away from the fact that I am God’s child. And within me is the power I need to overcome the issues of this life. But it first starts with how I see myself. I have to change my vision and see myself how God sees me. I have to first be open to the possibility that my #MeToo story doesn’t end there. Then pray, which is a simple conversation with God. I don’t have to be all extra with it, using fancy words and swaying all over the place. I talk to God like I’m talking to you right now. Simple.
Philippians 4:6 say, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
#2 BELIEVE – now this one is tough because my bruised ego will tell me that I look stupid believing in something or someone I can’t even see. My bruised ego will tel me that God allowed that evil thing to happen because something is wrong with me. My bruised ego will tell me that I’m not good enough, have no value in this world, not smart or pretty enough. My bruised ego will keep me in my pit of pain. But I have to believe what God says about me. That I am fearfully and wonderfully made. That I am the lender and not the borrower. That there are angels fighting my spiritual battle on my behalf. That I am covered by His protection against the tricks of the enemy. I replace all disbelief with God’s Word.
I remember God saying to me one day while I stood in my bathroom, looking in the mirror with tears falling down my cheeks.. Feeling hopeless and helpless and unworthy of God’s love because of my sin… God said to me plainly and in His loving voice, “You are never too far in the pit that I can’t reach you.”
Matthew 21:22 says, “And in all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
#3 MOVE – take action. You cannot heal yourself by yourself. You need a support system. You need someone who has been where you’ve been to show you how to come out of that place. Don’t stay in your place of hurt just because no one is listening to you anymore; just because the hashtag ain’t popular anymore; just because you don’t believe you deserve to be happy; just because you don’t believe in restoration. You don’t have to be perfect to get healed. You don’t have to prepare to be healed. You simply get up and find help! We are out here and we have to heal together.
James 2:26 says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
Okay, I think you get my point by now. I want to present the #MeToo’s of the world with this:
Never quit, you have purpose, you don’t have to live with the pain, and you have the power and authority within you to change your life.
God bless you,
Founder & CEO, Matters of My Heart, LLC
“My past does not define me, it refines me.”
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P.S. When you are ready to join other adult survivors of childhood abuse and finally heal from the pain of your past, come on over to our Private Facebook community, the I Am Empowerment Movement.
And remember, you’re not a victim, you are a survivor!