If there’s one fact I’ve learned over and over again in my 26 years on this planet, it’s that as a woman, I’m never safe, and the world could not give a damn about changing that.
In the past few months, droves of women have bravely come forward to detail their experiences of sexual assault. Women like Mary J. Blige have revealed that they were molested at 5 years old and throughout their adolescence. I’ve watched writers call allegations against performative allies like Aziz Ansari “revenge porn,” while Twitter debated whether or not sexual coercion is actually OK. We’ve seen countless men and women propose that the #MeToo movement has gone too far and has become a “witch hunt” for men.
On Monday, Simone Biles joined more than 140 young women and girls who’ve accused former Team USA physician Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. That’s right. Charges of abuse of at least 140 girls and young women went ignored and unnoticed for years. Young black women like Biles and Gabby Douglas, who’ve made history on our television screens, were allegedly violated repeatedly by a person who was paid to ensure their health. These young women who proudly represented this country were forced to return to the sites of their molestation every day to relive that trauma.
Every time I see news like this, I relive my own sexual trauma. I’m reminded of each woman in my life who has been molested and abused and the likelihood that, despite this cultural “reckoning,” women and girls will continue to be assaulted every day. I remember that we’ve protected accused predators like R. Kelly and Bill Cosby because we value their art more than we value the lives of young black girls and women.
I’ll probably never meet a woman who hasn’t said #MeToo. But for every woman you meet who’s been assaulted, you’ll likely meet someone else who’s making sure that never changes.