Jennifer’s #MeToo Story
Many of you have heard about the #MeToo Movement that is taking Social Media by storm.
Now, my only complaint about the #MeToo Movement is I do not need “all woman.” If you tell me you have been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, I will believe you, because you are enough. Your one voice is enough. If you are a woman if you are a man I will believe you because as a human, it is my job. It is not my job to judge, it is my job to believe.
With that being said, here is my story.
I was a single Mom, in my mid-twenties who found myself in a less than ideal situation. My very good friend and her husband graciously opened their home to me and my young boys. They were offering me a chance to get on my feet while allowing me to save some money so I could move on to the next chapter of my life.
I had been living with them for a month. Things were going well. The boys and I became part of their family. We would cook dinner together (Well, I would watch them cook) we would have “Movie Nights.” At one point when a guy show interest me, they told me he was not good enough, to never settle.
I was introduced to their extended families. On occasion, we would spend the night out, at her sisters beautiful home. I had the entire bottom floor to myself. I felt good, I felt relaxed, I felt as if I was getting better.
One weekend, my friend was booked up with church activities. I had the weekend off from work, my boys were in a safe place. It was just me, alone for the weekend. Without my boys there, I did not know what to do with myself. I had the entire weekend free and yet found myself depressed. Listening to Matchbox Twenty on repeat. At this point in time, I had not yet learned how to be “me” without my boys.
My friend called me from her church activity. She encouraged me to go to the Bite of Seattle with her husband. She wanted me to get out of the house and not sit around feeling sorry for myself.
With some prodding from her and her husband, I finally agreed.
The Bite of Seattle was nothing I had ever seen before. There were food vendors, music, and wine tasting galore. This was a part of Seattle I had not seen before. I was in heaven. Her husband took pride in showing me all the ins and out of the Bite of Seattle, and I took it all in. Especially the food. My friend was right, I needed this.
As the day was coming to a close, we sat down on a hill, listening to the grunge music that Seattle was best known for. The Husband and I talked about dinner. We decided on pizza. That way, my friend would be finished up with her church obligations.
Somewhere between talking about pizza and the band switching to a ballad, things took a change. As I was sitting there on a lush green hilltop, sipping on my coffee, he scooted in behind me. His arms went around me. “Turn around kiss me.” I was frozen. What is happening here? “Ya know, we have some time to kill, there’s a motel not too far from here. I can show you a thing or two.”
I had every emotion you could imagine going through me. First I was mad. I was mad that he would put me in this situation. I was mad that he took advantage of his wife’s good heart. His wife trusted him. She trusted me. I was mad that he thought he had the power. I was mad that if he had his way, he honestly thought he could take me to Motel 6 and “show me a thing or two.” I was mad that I now had to drive back home. I was mad that I now had to make very quick choices that would change everything. I was hurt. He took the private conversation that I had had with him and his wife and used them to his benefit. I was sad I that I had allowed myself to open up to him, telling him my concerns about finding a good guy, he took that and used that in the hopes to get a quick lay. I was hurt for my friend, who is one of the nicest, most generous people you will ever meet, I was now hurting for her. I was in disbelief that this guy who at best would be a 3, thought he was something more. I now had hatred. I hated this person, for everything he tried to break.
My struggle had only begun.
It was only a matter of time before people at work found out. Naturally, everyone picked a side.
I was at fault for agreeing to go with him alone to the Bite of Seattle. It was all my fault. There was only one person who had my back. Who made sure through all of this that I was okay.
Now the one person who had no reason at all to show me support was the one person who did. While everyone else at work was saying to her “I am so sorry, I am sure she asked for it.” “Do not blame your husband, he is a good guy.” “What was she wearing, that could have contributed to it.”
My friend stood by me, as I did her.
As my friend was working on her marriage, and I was working on my reputation, my friend said to me…
“Jen, I get it. Years ago, it happened to me too.
Christin’s #MeToo Story
We had said Hi in passing several times while working at the store. He was very friendly, always smiling, engaging, even a little charismatic. From another country, I found his accent interesting, always asking about his native home and how it was there on a few occasions when we would coincidentally be eating lunch in the breakroom at the same time.
When I found myself shopping at the store on a day off, he approached me like any other day, a smiling, friendly face.
“Hey what are you doing?”
“Shopping. What are you up to?”
“I’m just getting off my shift.”
“Well, that’s good. I have to finish up some shopping, so I’ll let you get going.”
“Hey, you want to hang out for a little bit.”
The only thing that was waiting for me was my little studio apartment and my hamster, Hammy. I was in a relatively new state with no family, a handful of friends, and a lot of free time.
“What do you want to do? We can grab a movie or maybe some dinner. There’s a cute little place off Monterrey Hwy.”
“How about San Francisco? You want to take a drive there, I know a little restaurant on the bay.”
I didn’t know him very well but he was a well-liked guy. Besides, I could’ve really used another friend in the big, busy city.
“Okay, let me put my stuff in my car and we can go.”
I left my car in the parking lot as he insisted on taking his car.
We made small-talk for the next 40 minutes, talking about our families and where we come from. He was a good conversationalist and an even better listener.
Driving into the city by the bay, the place is one of my favorites. The people, the buildings, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli’s… everything.
He and I walked around for a bit, enjoying the sights. Turned out he loved the city too.
We chatted some more as we made our way into the quaint restaurant overlooking the bay. The sun had gone down, the bright moon reflecting off the dark water.
Dinner was nice, mostly small-talk.
It was getting late, I was ready to go home.
He paid the check after my insistence to pay my part.
“Don’t worry about it. I got it”
We found our way back to his car, making the short drive back to San Jose.
“Hey, it’s late, do you want to just stay at my place tonight?” he asked as we got off the freeway, about 10 minutes out from Wal-Mart.
The question caught me off-guard.
“No, I have to get home. It’s late.” I said, looking at the clock in the car that read 11:09 pm.
“C’mon. My apartment is just around the corner, you can have my bed and I’ll take the couch.”
My heart began to race. My hands became sweaty.
“I can’t tonight. I have some things I need to get done in the morning,” I said, trying to convince him.
Anything to get out of this car.
“It’s fine. I can bring you back to your car in the morning. I promise.”
“I really need to get home tonight.”
“My place is close by. I can give you ride in the morning. It will be okay.”
None of this seemed to be okay. As my heart and my mind raced, I began to formulate a way out.
I looked over and his smile had dissipated. He was now serious, and me telling him “no” was only agitating him.
“I have to get something out of my car,” I said. “I really don’t want to leave it in there overnight.”
“Okay, so you can grab it and then we can go to my place.”
I sat in silence, waiting for the glow of the blue lights of Wal-Mart to appear. The parking lot was desolate besides the few cars belonging to the overnight stockers (Before the stores became 24-hours).
I put my hand in my jacket, making sure my keys were easily accessible. My purse was next to me, ready to be used in any way necessary.
He pulled up next to my car and before the car came to a complete stop, I pulled the handle, jumping out. I hit the unlock button on my keyless remote, grabbed pulled the door open on my car, just as he was jumping out of his. He grabbed my arm just as I was getting into my car, I pulled as hard as I could, shaking out of his tight grasp. I pulled my door closed and locked it, as he was pulling on the door handle. With my hands trembling, I pulled my keys out and tried to put it into the ignition as he began banging on my windows, screaming at me, through the window, his face inches from mine.
I finally got my key in the ignition through the tears and shaking. I slammed on the gas, and sped out of the parking lot, straight to my nearest friends’ house.
I was violated that night. Maybe not physically, but spiritually and emotionally. My trust was violated. My sense of peace was violated. At 20, my outlook on the world was violated. One person took my good nature, trusting, open vulnerability and tried to take advantage of me.
For many years after, I always thought it was something that I did. Maybe if I hadn’t been so friendly. Maybe if I had insisted to pay for my meal. Perhaps I led him on in some way unintentionally. Only until recently, when preparing my own daughter to go out in the world on her own in 4 short years, did I realize that it wasn’t me, it was him.
It could happen to anyone. It happened to me, too.