The Unforeseen Consequences of the viral #metoo Posts

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Quiet contemplation, San Francisco Bay

There a post is circulating asking women to copy and paste “me too” if they have been a victim of sexual harassment or assault. I will make it simple- my suspicion as a doc is that nearly #everysinglewoman has been sexually harassed or assaulted in their lifetime. I want to support every woman who has declared it on their webpage, as we historically have had a culture of shame and guilt and victim blaming around this issue. It is time to shift that tide, and women are responding in the thousands to the #metoo post. This brings much needed awareness to this issue.

Despite my unequivocal support for the women who have responded, and the overall movement, I think there may be unforeseen consequences of these posts.

1. Some women may be faced with the choice of feeling pressured to share and not want to. Not every victim should feel pressured into coming out about their experiences- Its OK to be silent or to be private. This is your business, and yours to share or not.

2. Some women may be triggered by the post, and remember their assault. Or may remember assaults they had long buried in the deep recesses of their mind. Its OK to seek help or counseling to process these emotions.

3. Some women may feel that they are doubly victimized, that they have to reveal their past after surviving a crime. Or anger that their attackers get to remain anonymous but they have to be public. Again, it is OK to stay silent if you don’t want to reveal your past, and OK to take time and get help to process these recurrent emotions.

4. Some women may not agree with the whole #metoo posts. There may be a generational or cultural issue and a sense of taboo in public telling of these assaults or crimes. Please feel free not to speak. Or finally speak out as you like.

5. Some men may feel that it excludes them by focusing on women only, as one in twenty men are the victims of sexual assault. I see you and acknowledge your pain.

6. Some LGBTQ may have been victims of non-traditional assault and may feel this movement excludes them. I see you and acknowledge your pain.

7. Some men and women may be triggered by the posts, as for every victim, there is an aggressor.

With support for ALL going through this process. Heal well.

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