To all the #METOOs,

In autumn 2017, the world shuddered as a hashtag (me too) spread across hundreds of walls burning thousands of ignorant beliefs in its wake. The world realized that things were not okay. Whispers became loud stories and you accepted openly the things you have had to go through because of humans that went rogue. For most men, it is next to impossible to understand the pain you go through every time you have to talk about that one or many times you felt an unwanted hand on your skin.

The first girl I fell in love with shared her story with me once. It was a winter night and we had just started getting to know each other when I noticed some stories etched onto her wrist in red ink with pens that looked like knives. She was really young when it happened and I remember I was silent for quite some time when she told me everything.

A few years before that, my sister told me about the time she had to go through it. I had to sit while my mom shared her story too. And another close friend of mine told the story of how she was six when it happened. My phone lit up like a Christmas tree with a string of ‘me too’ staring me in the face. All these wonderful women I have been with in my life still stand tall, straight and with battle scars that look a lot like tattoos.

I can’t do much except promise you to never be that man you loathe. Also maybe, I can make a character out of him and kill him in my book for you. You let me know, okay?

Consent has become a foreign language and I am so sorry that you are suffering because of it. I am sorry some men didn’t let you become the Khaleesi that you were meant to be. I wish you didn’t have to stop talking just because you were in the presence of an important ‘influence’. Honestly, fuck them.

Stand tall, stand real and stand the way you want. I am with you. Always.

Yours,
Utsav Raj


Instagram handle: @utsavraj_
Previous post: The story of the trees.
Related post: A tale of the five senses.

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89 Comments

  1. Good post, but as a woman I have to say #metoo has gone too far. Sorry, not sorry. I’ve had “experiences” but I handled them and didn’t purposely put myself in harm’s way, like those actresses who knew what the “casting couch” was all about. They put their lives on the line for fame and fortune and I say they got what they asked for: fame and fortune via this couch. Plus in our turbulent political times this goes much further than #metoo. I don’t take anything at face value, I dig deeper. I think in this age people, women, need to look before they leap. Most of them put themselves in this position. Plain and simple. And there are a lot of liars out there. Some yes, are telling the truth but not all: I know women like this and I take all with a grain of salt. I’m gonna catch a lot of crap for this, but truth always hurts.

    1. It would be unfair to categorise anyone who is using this social issue to gain fame/popularity/money or whatever under the MeToo victims. I detest fake people just as much as you do, but I am not willing to generalise the crowd for it.
      These ‘experiences’ aren’t 1) for handling and 2) meant to exist in the first place.
      So while we find a solution for differentiating between victims and fakes, I am not going to wait around for this problem to grow and its awareness to reduce.
      Anyway, this is not in any way meant to start a debate, which is why this will be my only comment. Thank you.

    2. Here’s the thing:

      These situations should never have existed in the first place. The “casting couch” situation is, often, not a situation the victims put themselves in. It’s a situation their handlers (parents, agents) put them in, and told them that was the only way the business worked. For many, they were young, naive, inexperienced, and lacked power. Now, they are older, wiser, and have the power to change the industry (and they are trying to do exactly that, so no one else has to go through their negative experiences, which is something we should all do in whatever industry we are in).

      Instead of blaming the victims, blame the ones who assaulted them. Blame the system that allowed the assaults to happen in the first place. Blame the system that says, repeatedly, “Boys will be boys”, even when they’re 50+ year old (white) men (because a 14 year old black boy is a “a man” and a “threat” to police, but a 50-something white guy is “a boy”). Blame the culture and society that let men get away with assault while telling the victims that they’re to blame because of what they wore, where they were, or whatever.

      With regards to truth . . . there are certainly people out there who lie. However, only 2-5% of assault accusations have been declared false after investigation (FBI) and it’s estimated that only 10-20% of assaults are ever reported. So, the odds are good that 95+% of MeToo claims and assault accusations are true.

  2. Thank you! As a survivor of sexual assault, thank you. My husband has endured the pain I suffered as well and it’s made us stronger but it can be hard to open up. I’m teaching our boys that respect, compassion, doing the right thing, standing up for the women (and men) in your life and that no means ‘no’ is how we will ensure they never have to be worried. It is not a scary time to be a man or a woman. Just don’t treat others like shit and guess what, nothing will happen.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Beautiful, kind and needed. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt words. Regarding your comment “Also maybe, I can make a character out of him and kill him in my book for you. You let me know, okay?” For me, don’t kill him, just make him better, maybe more like you.

  4. Your parents must be very proud of you. They raised you right. Bless you and yours for speaking out. I can only hope more men step up and speak out about it.

  5. This is so honestly written. Thank you for this Utsav! I come across so many stories and I’ve had a fair share of my own stories as well. And it’s sad how we have reached a point where we normalize a lot of incidents that shouldn’t be taking place in the first place. I’m happy that people like you exist, and understand, and I hope you spread your ideas far and wide ❤️

  6. I’m bawling my eyes out right now after reading this. Thank you! A million times, thank you! As a survivor, posts like this, from brave and honorable men, gives me hope. You are our brothers in spirit, and there aren’t enough words to express my gratitude, so thank you. You are a beautiful example of the kind of man this world needs more of.

  7. Thank you for writing this Utsav. It means the world for women like me, and those who have had it much worse, to know that there are men out there like you. It’s about the hope your words provide. To know that there are men out there willing to stand with us, to protect us from future evils. So I thank you. #metoo xo

  8. Thank you. I know too many men who still just….. don’t….. get it. They think that because they personally would never, and have never – then, that must mean it just doesn’t happen. When in reality, it does happen… and has happened to far too many, including myself.

  9. Great post. It begs permission to open and shine healing light into what the heart doesn’t want to unlock. Or fears to. Because it hurts…and brings black memories…exposes a lone-carried heart wound. I still hurt. I didn’t like seeing all those #metoo.. I hated saying it and being part and knowing we were such a large circle. Thank you for having a heart that has reached out through your blog. And thanks for your humor…in putting those awful men into your book. That made me laugh. Keep being a testimony of what other (men) aren’t. And keep writing :)

  10. I wrote about one of my #metoo experiences in my blog, Rape Poem: He took what was Mine. It was difficult and still makes my insides churn.. but also freeing/healing to write. I didn’t expect the amount of support I got and to have people validate my pain. We all need this. Your blog also is a validation, you acknowledge us in a caring way. Much thanks for being a light in this #metoo dark pain. https://infinitylovesteps.com/2018/06/29/rape-poem-he-took-what-was-mine/

  11. You sweet, daring man! I cried reading that.

    For me it was my whole first decade of life. After age 12 it was 36 rapes. I mark being grown up as the difference between molestation and rape.

    If it’s any consolation, I fear mostly white looking, US citizen males who others characterize as ‘pillars of the community,’ ‘respected,’ ‘a good Christian.’ Bonus terror points if they’re charismatic and charming. But you always can tell it by their eyes. Emotionless. Cold. Or vengeful. Or predatory, like a cat playing with a mouse it won’t eat, just maim.

    Even when I lived in Asia, the predators pretending to be humans fit the description I knew to fear.

    I can count human males who I’m not afraid of on one hand. You are now one of them. May all gods bless you.

  12. Thank you for your support of women, Utsav. It means a lot to me that there are men like you out there! “I can’t do much except promise you to never be that man you loathe.” This line is a beautifully written commitment to the women. I appreciate it so much! I’d like to add something, if I may, your promise is great but would you also ensure that you speak to those men who don’t understand what you have comprehended and call out bad behavior when you see it? This also goes a long way to help support women. Thank you for this piece. It’s so very important!

  13. Thanks for this article Utsav, knowing that there are men out there sensitive enough to support #metoo is great relief today. I have been in conversation with few people who still don’t see magnitude of this issue and try to dismiss victim’s story :( . Keep it up!

    Priti Patil

  14. Im glad this subject is loud. Thank you for your post.
    its a sad thing that people dismiss their responsibilities as a human being thinking they can do whatevvvvvver they want expecting no consequences… we need to teach and demonstrate accountability for our actions.
    everyone needs to keep speaking up. males too.

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