You nodded as a friend said a woman’s dress was too short and she was asking for trouble.
You rolled your eyes when a sex positive woman said she was raped because you believed a frequent yes didn’t justify her no.
You joked that a queer person’s sexual assault was the reason they “liked it that way.”
You didn’t believe her story because that wasn’t your experience of him, so how could it be anyone else’s?
You justified the assault of a teenaged girl because hanging out with people older meant she wanted it.
You justified the assault of a teenaged boy because “he was lucky” that an older woman was giving him that attention.
You ignored your child’s accusation because your new relationship was more important than their safety.
You laughed when she said she was a victim because you said she was too fat for anyone to “do that” to her.
You bought them too many drinks and would use that as a coverup later.
You kept asking because you knew your ask was wearing down their no.
You grabbed them because women who danced like that knew what to expect.
You catcalled because you convinced yourself her outfit was all for your attention.
You called her a slut because her choices weren’t yours and her gender wasn’t male.
You called them a sissy because their feelings weren’t toxic and their gender didn’t conform.
You assumed your spouse was in the mood and didn’t care when they expressed otherwise.
You touched without permission.
You silenced with intention.
You were the problem.
You are the problem.
Yet there is no hashtag about your story.
Because you’re not pushed to process and you’re not pushed to stop.
You’re allowed to keep living, even as you kill something in others.
Their autonomy. Their self-esteem. Their sexual pleasure. Their lives.
My autonomy. My self-esteem. My sexual pleasure. My life.
If you didn’t believe it, you erased it.
If you didn’t end rape culture, you became it.
You too perpetuated rape culture. You are rape culture.
And you’re the reason #MeToo is more than just a hashtag.
It’s part of my life forever.
Marchaé Grair is the editor of the United Church of Christ blog, New Sacred, and the UCC social media associate. Twitter: @MarchaeGrair