Most of you know I was repeatedly raped as a teenager. I wrote a book about my story. On October 15, the day or so after the #MeToo went viral on Facebook, I shared it. Within minutes, an old high school acquaintance, let’s call him Dick, responded with this “Yes ma'am - and if all the people who whine & cry their way to a limelight would learn to solve their own problems...What happened to our Pioneer spirits.”
I felt like I was being attacked. In a way, I was. After the initial shock, came the nausea. His comment definitely hit a trigger deep inside of me. I felt so much anger. How dare he diminish the rape that I endured as a teenager! Or imply that I was using it to "cry my way to a limelight". What does that even mean??
This sent me in to a defensive mode. I wanted to make him an “other”, the way he made me one. I wanted to call him an ASSHOLE. I wanted to hit him in the chest with my fists. I wanted to call him stupid and assign him to the “other” political party. But, I realized that if I responded to his response with name calling, then I would be just as stupid as he was. I knew that I should not respond to him with my blood boiling the way it was. I blocked him immediately to prevent him from contacting me again, and went to bed.
I thought about Dick’s response the next day day. I realized that stupid was the wrong word to use for Dick. He was ignorant of my situation, and of all situations involving assault and rape. Which is completely different than stupid. I will say that because of his comment, I believe him to be less evolved.
Meanwhile my friend, Asha, responded with more for me to think about: “#MeToo is a great learning/eye opening moment for others who are unfortunately quite ignorant in what goes on for way too many women in the world. I think Alyssa Milano deserves respect for starting it.”
A day and a half after Dick’s comment, I finally responded with this: “It took me a while to think about how to respond to Dick's comments. First, I blocked him. I do not want that kind of negativity in my life. Ever. Second, no one can minimize the rape that I endured as a teenager. It happened! And 48 of my FB friends also had the guts to "whine their way to the limelight" by posting #METOO. Way to go, friends! Third, Thank you Asha! This is absolutely a case of ignorance. And last, I absolutely AM being a PIONEER and sharing my experience in the hopes of helping other rape survivors process their shame! I wrote a book about it! Find out about it at dellabarbato.com”
I finally realized that Dick’s response is an opportunity for growth for me. I am so grateful that I did not act out in anger. I must realize that Dick is not his thoughts, just as I am not mine. He is a child of God, just like me. Perhaps he does not have a daughter, or has never thought about how he would feel if someone he loved were assaulted or raped. We can disagree without being disagreeable. There is enough hate in this world. Peace out, Dick.
Nobody promised life would be easy. Grab a cup of coffee, and we'll share the trials, tribulations and triumphs. Life's a little easier when you realize that others have gone before you.