I’m a survivor. I mentioned this many times. Perhaps, not enough. Sometimes, I would like a horn like the curse of Cain. “Hey, please be nice to me, I woke up in a sweat, sheets strangling me, and a part of me wished I choked.” But, I’d honestly rather relive my trauma, then have it appropriated by white, privileged, millionaire actresses.
I remember during my year of exposure therapy, someone insisted to me that the #metoo movement was a good thing. “Because getting catcalled is assault too.” I walked away in a huff. It isn’t the same thing. Because you can walk away. Yes, getting harassed by Harvey Weinstein is awful. But again, you are a wealthy, white, beautiful woman who walked into a man’s office with a damaged reputation and closed the door. I was a child on a bed in the darkness of a room I can barely recall. Do not equate your experience with mine. Do not cancel politicians on false accusations and call it heroic. Do not trend #metoo on Twitter and believe you’re helping me. You are not. You are part of the problem.
Tara Reade was fingered by Joe Biden without her consent. She was silenced repeatedly. Now, the Democratic Party is insisting he is not as bad as Donald Trump, alleged “pussy grabber.” Thank you so much for your opinion. I’m sure every victim of sexual assault thinks words are worse than being masturbated in front of, groped, prodded, raped, and ruined. Now is the time to listen. Not to wealthy actresses with the names of female directors on their clothes. Not to party leaders. Not even to comments on Facebook. But to us. To the survivors with crippling PTSD who manage to function. Who manage to put on our clothes every morning. Who manage to get degrees. Who manage to achieve. Who manage to succeed against the odds of perpetrators who stole our innocence. Who sometimes cannot manage. Who sometimes become addicts. Who are told they are damaged. Who feel damaged. We are the true victims of sexual assault. Listen to us.
Change your narrative. Change the blame game. Change party lines. Do not cancel men on words. Do not cancel men simply for creepiness. Do not minimize real harassment and assault. Because you do not just cheapen us, you cheapen abuse. You cheapen my experience. You cheapen my insomnia. You cheapen my sleepless nights. You cheapen the number of times I need to convince myself I am not crazy. I did not make this up. “I believe her,” is only important because often, we do not believe ourselves.
Believe Tara Reade.