Monday, November 13, 2017

Hashtag-Me-Too ~ #MondayBlogs

RAINN and other well-known sources have been citing appalling statistics about sexual assault and abuse in America since 1994. However it wasn’t until 2016 and 2017 when a deluge of sexual assault/abuse/harassment allegations against famous personalities came to the forefront that most people started mouthing the words, “I can’t believe how many allegations...” Earlier this year Facebook saw a huge amount of their members posting #MeToo representing those of us who suffered in silence and in solidarity; most posters were women although several men joined in as well.

Do you feel as if you’ve been bombarded by the amount of women, men and (former) children who have stepped up with their stories of abuse? According to RAINN’s most recent facts “1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime” and “About 3% of American men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.” There are even more disturbing facts when you consider that “From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that, 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse.” For more statistics visit .

Have these numbers bothered you yet? Think about the teen-age girls traveling the NYC subways during rush hour, when bodies are jam-packed against one another and suddenly there is a hand exploring their genital area (or worse) — I know this happened often to my travel companions and myself during our high school years. There are too many stories about women being propositioned in return for otherwise well-deserved work promotions and far too many stories where the advances were turned down and yet the word NO held no meaning. Of course most of us are highly offended hearing about children who were molested by that favorite “Uncle” (or “Aunt”) and then dismissed when they tried to tell Mommy and Daddy. I know there are horror stories about men being victimized by women as well and also same-sex assaults.

There is a sad sickness in our society when a woman is blamed for getting raped because she was walking home alone at night, or when a 14-year old child “allows” an adult to liberties. How twisted is the logic that believes a prisoner in jail, even for minor infractions, “deserves” to be raped? And why do we find different standards and excuses based on someone’s political position, financial status, being a movie star, or his/her skin color or sexual preference? How can any decent human being believe that a woman who doesn't want it and fights cannot be raped?! Why do some states treat marital rape, even though illegal in all 50 states, different when it comes to punishment? And why are there so many complaints about college administrations who hide the incidence of rape and sexual assault rather than pursuing full police investigations and arrests?

I am aware that there will be someone reading this who will offer up the possibility of false accusations and the permanent damage that can cause the unjustly blamed. Yes, false accusations can cause lifetime trauma leading to broken marriages, loss of employment and even worse. But I honestly believe that the actual incidence of rape and unwanted sexual encounters, even those that are not prosecuted, are far more common than false allegations; in this instance we hope that the law and juries can see through to the truth. But I will admit feelings of anger when the reaction to an accusation is automatically greeted with the assumption that the victim is crying “wolf”.

Knowing how many of us were compelled to post “#MeToo” is sad. And learning how many rape and assault survivors have felt they had to keep silent because their character would be questioned or condemned is tragic.

…just my thoughts,
Chelle Cordero,
author of The Survivor Series: Bartlett’s RuleCourage of the Heart