The school hallway was packed with students. Working my way through the corridor to my next class, a boy grabbed me in my crotch. I turned my head around quickly to see the perpetrator. It was shocking to me that anyone would even consider grabbing me in that region of my body.
Me Who? The world was a different place back then. Who would care about me?
I did not speak up. I am sure that person would have denied it anyway. That was 1979. I was 16 years old. I never told anyone this story up to this point.
When I became a registered nurse, I was groped by a colleague. I was 24 years old when that happened. Again, I never told anyone this second episode until the #MeToo events started surfacing.
Now more than 30 years later, I wonder why I did not speak up. Working in a hospital should be the safest place to verbalize concerns, but I did not. My blog post makes only a little dent in this amazing time in history for women, but it is important to tell it. The complexity of the issues involved are so far-reaching.
One aspect I believe needs much more attention is for my sons who can be just as vulnerable. I speak as a mother and a nurse. One of my sons is autistic and I worry that someone could hurt him. As his mom, my emotions run deep. He can not speak up.
My other son is a nursing student. He and I talked about the #MeToo movement. We both agreed how important it is for everyone to feel like they can speak up about any emotions that need light shed upon them.
My son’s calling to caregiving is one full of compassion for his patients all ready. I have seen him tear up when he speaks of the death of a patient he has witnessed. While we nurses take care of our patients, we always need to be sensitive to their need to speak up. I stated to my son he too should be allowed to fully express himself when needed.
As we reconcile this gut-wrenching issue with empathy for women, let us not forget our men. I know awareness and identifying all aspects of abuse need to be noted. This is my little piece that I add to the conversation, although this writing voice is for my sons this go around. I will not allow them to have a me who attitude as I once possessed. The notion this is only a women’s issue is not true. Our male counterparts deserve our consideration.