Why It Took Accusations Against Roy Moore for Me to Share My Own #MeToo Story
We live in a time when both the empires of Hollywood and political officials are being brought down slowly, one by one. Public accusations of sexual assault are on the rise and all I can say is good!
I am so freaking glad these women are finally coming forward and feel like they’re able to. I am grateful for the outstanding support of the #MeToo movement and how the media and businesses are handling the accusations.
Well, most of them anyway.
There’s one case in particular, though, that’s left me lying in bed in near tears, nearly throwing me into fits of rage every time I hear about it, and it is none other than the cases surrounding Roy Moore.
For those who don’t know, Roy Moore is an American politician, a former Alabama state judge and Republican nominee in the December 12, 2017 election in Alabama. He is going against the Democratic nominee Doug Jones. He also has at least five women accusing him of sexual misconduct from 40-plus years ago.
Now, let me be clear, I 100 percent support and believe these women. There is not a single doubt in my mind that this man did the things he is accused of, so that’s not the problem. The descriptions that these women have given aren’t even the problem.
It’s the people defending him who I have a problem with.
There is nothing in this world that makes someone feel more alone than seeing those you love and care about defending men like Moore with comments like, “Why did these women wait 40-plus years to come forward?” or “They’re only doing this because he’s a Republican and they’re Democratic snowflakes,” or “I don’t care what he did, they better still vote for him because we can’t have a damn Democrat in office,” or any other variation out there.
This is exactly what I have been going through since this story first broke.
As someone who has experienced sexually assault, I have spoken up during cases such as Brock Turner’s and Kesha’s. I have shared #MeToo on all of my social media platforms and received very little response. Last year, during the Presidential Election and the video where Trump was heard talking poorly about women, I was very vocal about my thoughts and feelings. I made it clear I was disgusted and hurt that people in my family and friend group would vote for him, or anyone, who said those kinds of things or were accused of those acts.
But, through all of it, I didn’t share my story, until the accusations of Roy Moore came up.
When people on my Facebook friends list started posting, “Why did they wait so long to come forward?” I couldn’t hold my tongue anymore. I broke and I typed out a (very calm and polite) response where I came clean about having been sexually assaulted. I didn’t go into detail about my assault, I simply said I had been and explained why the women didn’t come forward; fear because Moore told them, “I’m an elected official and you’re just a child, no one will believe you,” because they were 14 to 16 years old and they didn’t know what to do, because they blamed themselves, because the town as a whole would blame them just like people are now, etc. etc. etc. There are so many reasons why a woman wouldn’t want to come forward. They’re probably only doing it now because now, with the #MeToo movement, they are just starting to feel safe.
After I posted the response, my anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) took over. I began to see flashbacks and struggled to return to the present. The world began to close down around me and I couldn’t breathe, my entire body was shaking. I wouldn’t let my husband touch me, only showed him what I was wrote. My mind went into overdrive, thinking of every possible consequence that could come out of what I had said. It took me the rest of the night and far into the morning to even begin to calm down and finally sleep.
I didn’t go into detail about my own assault, but maybe I should have, because you know what happened after I posted my response?
I didn’t get a reply, I didn’t get a text or phone call filled with concern, I didn’t get any sort of reaction whatsoever. And I think that broke me more than I could ever explain because I put myself out there, I suffered through anxiety attacks and PTSD attacks for an entire night into the early hours of the morning, all for nothing. It didn’t make me feel better, knowing that at least someone on that side knew, it made me feel worse that they knew and didn’t say anything.
I know I’m not the only one out there dealing with this right now. I know there are people out there who have family and friends who are supporting Moore, Trump and others with sexual assault allegations against them, and I know that some people who’ve experienced it take these things personally. And we have every right to. This is about more than a political party or policies. This is about feeling real hurt. It’s not something we can just get over, and some of us never will.
That’s why #MeToo is important. That’s why seeing these politicians and Hollywood stars being taken down is important. That’s why spreading the word and talking about it is important. Because we all need to band together and we need to know that, while each of our stories are different and personal to us, we have each others’ support and understanding and love, even when it feels like we don’t.
Someday, I will share my story, in full detail; when I’m able to think about it without the world spinning or feeling phantoms around me; when I don’t feel like I have to shower just to get rid of them; when I’m able to walk around my own home when my husband is at work without a knife in my pocket because every footstep outside my apartment door sends me into a full-blown panic.
If this is something you’ve experienced and you feel alone, reach out to someone you trust. Find a support group of other #MeToo survivors and surround yourself with loving and understanding people. You’re not alone, none of us are, and if these accusations and #MeToo have taught us anything, it’s that.
If no one has said it today, I love you. I’m here for you. I understand you the best way I can. You’re not alone in this, and you have my support. Take care of yourself today and go out and be the Warrior I know you can be.
Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.
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If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
Lead photo via the Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate Facebook page