Crime scene concept photo of rape victim. A sad woman sits on the floor of a dark tunnel.

A recent article by Amy Swearer had a pretty profound impact on me.  A visiting legal fellow at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, Swearer decided to bravely share her story within the context of the new #MeToo trend.  You’ve probably seen that hashtag all over social media.  Since its inception,  thousands of stories of rape, sexual assault, or harassment have emerged which organizers of the movement hoped would show the  pervasiveness of these problems.  This, of course, has caused some to gripe about victimhood and the casual way in which people are discussing topics most of us would rather didn’t exist.

However, Swearer — a conservative — tells her story:

Not long ago, shortly after moving halfway across the country to Washington, D.C., I was roofied in a bar. I recall telling myself I would just have one drink, since the friends I was supposed to meet canceled on me. The next 12 hours are black. Not figuratively black, but literally black. They do not exist in my mind except for a handful of hazy, dreamlike snapshots of context-less moments toward the beginning and end of that period.

What I know from hospital staff is that someone called an ambulance after finding me screaming for help in a Metro station, a strange and as-yet unidentified man at my side. I was covered in vomit and incoherent, but even drugged-up Amy still put up a fight—apparently, I was kicking at the EMTs.

I came to the next morning on an emergency room gurney, bruised in various places and my wrist so badly damaged it would likely need surgery. There was no alcohol in my system: I had not been drunk. No, some piece of human garbage chemically incapacitated me because he did not feel capable of simply overpowering me. In many other contexts I might take it as a compliment.

She later goes on to criticize people who have callously made fun of the #MeToo movement:

When someone confides in you that they were roofied, assaulted, molested, raped, or harassed, they have rendered themselves the most vulnerable they will likely ever be to you. Do not presume to sit in judgment of a person’s reaction to a horror you can never understand until you have lived it.

And no, I promise you, you do not understand. I did not understand, either.

I have sat in quiet judgment of so many women who did not respond to victimization in the precise way I imagined “angry, no-holds-barred, take-names-but-not-prisoners” Amy would respond.

However, now she wants people to understand the right response to these stories:

The #MeToo hashtag may be a cop out for some, but others—myself included—it is a way to tell other women they are not alone. It is a way to process our own stories and salve our very real pain. It is a way to reclaim the voices we lost.

I’m not asking anyone to refrain from having honest conversations on the subjects of victimization and assault. I’m simply asking you to refrain from categorically judging the stories behind the hashtag as nothing more than slacktivism or attention-seeking hogwash.

We are still struggling to comprehend our own responses and emotions, to come to terms with our own confusion and fear, to fight our own personal demons before we can turn to face the many devils that still exist in this world. If we who have lived it barely understand our own healing process, do not condescend to understand for us.

There is a time and place to address genuine concerns about the left’s war on manhood, the horrible lack of due process for college students accused of sexual misconduct, and the unfortunate but very true fact that sometimes lives are ruined over false allegations.

Whatever that time is, and wherever that place may be, it is not when a person is telling you she was a victim of assault. That will never be the right time or place to raise those concerns. When someone confides in you about an event so life-altering and full of heart-rending pain, you do one thing. Only one thing.

You listen.

I thought her article was brave, well written, educational, and poignant.  I also believe it was a helpful addition to the dialogue on a difficult subject.

Read it all here.

 Image Credit: Big Stock

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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