My Facebook and Twitter feeds recently filled with #metoo posts Yours probably did too.
Some posts simply said #metoo. Some copied and pasted a message explaining what the meme is about. Some referenced or described the experiences that prompted them to post. Most posts were written by women. A few were by men wondering if without meaning too, they’ve contributed to the harassment and lack of safety women experience too often.
I don’t know how all this affected you. My tears welled and my heart was weighed down by this strong reminder of how prevalent this type of abuse is. This got me thinking about doing some expressive writing about my own experiences of sexual harassment.
That’s something you, too, might like to try.
An Invitation to Write Your Story
I’d like to offer something more, something you can make use of if #metoo has stirred memories that are stressful, sad or overwhelming.
You might find you can put your #metoo story or stories to rest by using Pennebaker’s Expressive Writing to fully and honestly expressing your deepest feelings and thoughts about a difficult or disruptive experience. Here’s a link to The Healing Power of Expressive Writing, a guest post I wrote this summer for Loraine van Tuyl’s Sacred Healing Well blog. It offers detailed directions for writing about a difficult past experience.
Take Care of Yourself
Set up a quiet, space where you can write without interruption for 5-20 minutes to each prompt. The suggestions and directions you’ll find in the post, The Healing Power of Expressive Writing (see link in the previous section) will help you get the most from your writing.
A note of caution – when writing about a tough experience, it’s not unusual to feel sad for a little while, as if you’d just watched a very touching movie. But if that lasts for more than a day, or if as you write, you find it starts stirring up such overwhelming feelings that you’re concerned you’ll lose it, draw your writing to a close, perhaps with the words, “I think this is stirring up too much. I need to take care of myself.” You may wish to seek out the help of a trusted friend, mentor or therapist for the support and care you deserve.
If you decide to write your story, you may find the step-by-step process of expressive writing lets you weave the disruptive experiences into the ongoing fabric of your life. Your perspective may shift and you may find new ways to make meaning of what happened. You may notice feeling more at peace than previously, and even see an improvement in you overall sense of health and well-being.
In the event you want to do more, I found some articles that might provide some helpful information and ideas, including:
- This one about Tarana Burke,who founded the “me too” crusade a decade ago to address the needs of women of color who have experienced sexual assault.
- This by Nicole Stamp, addressing men and suggesting what they can do in the wake of #metoo.
- This Huffington Post article talks about the prevalence of sexual violence against bisexual women, and how to help prevent it.
- And this post published by Break the Cycle which offers suggestions on making a difference in stopping sexual violence.
I hope this post has given you some useful ways take care of yourself, to support others, and to help smake a difference in the world. .
Your thoughts, comments or questions are welcome.