It was the older boy who would playfully (we thought) “d-p” or “de-pants” me and my sister when we were four and five.
It’s the man who would drive by our bus stop when we were in kindergarten and first grade and lick his lips.
It’s that time at the clothing store when I was in middle school that a man followed me around with his penis hanging out of the bottom of his shorts and my mom had to talk to the police.
It’s the time my dad had to rush out to the local movie theater because a strange man was following my sister and her friend.
It’s the man who pulled out his privates and masturbated in front of me that one time in high school.
And that other time in high school.
And that other time in college.
It is the dozen or so times my ass has been grabbed by men at bars in my 20s. Men who then tried to disappear into the crowd when I would turn around to look for them.
It’s that one time a guy grabbed my vagina at another bar, then laughed when I punched him.
It’s my friend in college who came home sobbing one night, telling me her “guy friend” just didn’t listen when she said no.
It’s the other friend who used the word “rape” when something similar happened to her, only to backpedal on her language because she felt like maybe it was her who caused the whole thing.
It’s the fact that I’m embarrassed even telling you any of this.
It’s the fact that, despite how disgusting all these stories objectively are, that I still don’t think my experiences are “bad enough” to warrant exposure.
It’s all of that, which I suppose is why it’s #metoo.
And mainly, it’s because I don’t want any of this—not even the slightest bit of it—to make its horrific way to the next generation of our girls.
I hesitated becoming part of this conversation, but then I realized it’s silence that emboldens predators.
While it may be #metoo, it’s really them. They are the ones who have to change.
Guys, we’re waiting.