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Watching the #MeToo thread on Facebook and Twitter the last couple days has been heartbreaking. The details of my own sexual harassment and assault aren’t really important. They’re very much like what so many other women and girls have experienced on a regular basis. My own experiences could have been so much worse, and they aren’t what’s heartbreaking here.

What I find really heartbreaking is how many women I know who’ve been assaulted and, many years later, are still too scared or ashamed to simply post two little words, “Me, too.” As bad as the massive trending thread looked, it’s actually worse. And even in the midst of the bravery of so many women standing up and demanding to be counted, our society still hasn’t given all of us enough of a feeling of safety for everyone to do so. It’s not a failing of the women for not feeling safe enough to post the truth, but of the rest of us who haven’t provided that safe place –  a place like, oh, you know, the world.

For all of those women and girls who are grieving silently, I want you to know that you are, in fact, heard. If you never feel okay telling anyone, that’s alright. But I hope you eventually find someone who you can trust to believe you, embrace you, and help you understand that you don’t need to be ashamed and you are not at fault – someone who will help you forgive yourself even though you are not the one who needs forgiveness. I hope you rise, my dear.

Me, too

Prints and other merchandise with this painting on it can be found here and here.