man following woman sexual assault
Women share their experiences of sexual assault and harassment. Photo: iStock

In light of the viral #MeToo campaign, Metro asked people to share their stories of sexual assault and harassment. Four women opened up about their personal experiences behind the powerful hashtag.

 

Kim, New York

I tweeted #MeToo today because I was sexually assaulted by a family member seven years ago. Less than a year ago, I finally had that moment where I took my power back. I don’t need to scurry away in fear or have an anxiety attack when I see him and spin out of control for a week. He did wrong. Speaking out was the right thing. Whether you are the victim of catcalls, ogling from strangers or off-handed comments from the boss, you are not the problem when you speak up. You are not making everyone else’s day worse. You are doing the right thing. And you will have your moment when you get your power back.

 

Madison, Massachusetts

My first “real” boyfriend used to sexually assault me in my sleep. I was a teenager, and felt angry, ashamed, and humiliated. Most of all, I felt powerless. It happened on more than one occasion, and he always had some excuse as to why he did it (“I was drunk,” I was dreaming,” “you looked so beautiful.”). Waking up in the midst of an assault carried out by someone I loved and trusted was absolutely horrific. When things as sick as this happen, it’s easy to hold it inside until you hate yourself. You feel dirty and guilty, even though you were innocent -- even though you were asleep. It’s saddening to see how many people have had #MeToo experiences, but I’m proud of every single person who speaks up. The more we can raise our voices, the closer we come to putting an end to this pervasive culture of sexual violence.

 

Cynthia, California

“When presenting our National History Day projects in high school... I think 9th grade. The projects were so tall, two of those 3-foot fold-out poster boards stacked one on top of the other. They were on tables so you couldn't see the other side of the room, it felt like a maze. I was looking at my peer’s posters when someone grabbed my ass. It was Bryan (a classmate). He just grabbed my ass hard and kept walking. I was shocked and mortified and no one saw, so I never told anyone. My heart's still racing to this day typing this, and I'm 31 years old.”

 

Katherine, Massachusetts

I have had my body touched by uninvited people countless times. I have received unwanted d--k pictures. The worst experience I had was during the winter of 2010.  I was working at a restaurant in Davis Square and I would walk home after my shift. I was responsible for part of the late-night menu and would often leave after midnight. One night I was on my way home and was approached by a man who asked me for "help." I realized he was exposing himself to me and I yelled "No," running to the closest business; 7-11 at the corner of Cedar and Broadway in Somerville. He ran after me, grabbed me from behind, grabbed my breast and tried to rip open my jacket while I fought. He then ran off. I went to the police, had a sketch done. Nothing came of it. I didn't tell my family what happened because I was afraid they would say that if I didn't work in an industry with late hours and if I drove a car instead of walked this wouldn't have happened. I felt so tired of having to defend my right to exist in a public space and not be assaulted. We have that right. I was assaulted because a man chose to assault me.