I'm Finally Breaking My Silence On The #MeToo Movement

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

By Kimberly Kim

When the #MeToo posts began to appear on my news feed, they hit me hard and ignited feelings I had been suppressing for years. There had been countless times I’d drafted a teary-eyed post of my own, only to never hit "post." When the horror stories of Harvey Weinstein, Ed Westwick, Matt Lauer, and other big names came pouring in, the feelings became even harder to keep to myself. Again, I began to work up the courage to type out my story. Then I started reading the scathing comments that seemed to accompany every story and retreated back to the safety of complete silence. I’m not only a victim of sexual assault, I’ve also been subject to victim-blaming, and I hate myself for it.

Related: How To Help a Friend Who May Have Been Sexually Assaulted

I haven’t told many people in my life about my #MeToo story, but I’ve been met with reactions of “Why didn’t you tell someone sooner?” or “It was so long ago. Are you sure you remembered it correctly?” This has happened enough to the point where I am beginning to doubt myself. Am I doing this as a cry for attention? Did this really happen to me? I’ve lived with this secret for years and am what most people would consider successful as a twenty-something. There’s no way anyone would really believe me. So I keep to myself. Silent, yet internally tearing myself apart for not having the courage to speak up.

These past few months, I’ve watched my news feed fill with stories and every day it feels like there’s another public figure I am disappointed and disgusted by. When these stories are brought up in conversation, I have to hold back tears. No one knows this is a trigger for me. No one knows that I listen to Kesha’s “Praying” on repeat when I’m alone. No one knows the terrible memories in my head. The more I hear about sexual assault in the news, the more I'm afraid to tell my story. I continue to be angry with myself for not being a silence breaker.

I woke up this morning to find that The Silence Breakers were named as TIME’s People of the Year, and now I feel I can no longer stay silent. I am grateful for the attention that many celebrities and public figures have brought to sexual assault, rape culture and victim-blaming––but I have my fears. I pray that this is just not a social media trend that will die out. The conversations have only started. We still need solutions for this sickening epidemic. Many victims don't necessarily have the network or resources to get the help we need to heal. When we have a president who has been known to perpetuate rape culture, I fear that we will not make progress in helping victims. If we just leave these stories as water cooler conversations and don’t find solutions, we will have failed as a society. What good is there in bringing these triggers into victims’ daily lives if we don’t help them?

Still, for every victim who has come forward with their #MeToo story, there are countless others who feel even more intimidated and less validated now that these stories are trending in the media. I don’t owe anyone my story and neither does anyone else. All you need to know is that there are so many people are silently fighting their demons and probably will continue to. They say silence is only perpetuating the issue, but who are we to judge?