Writer and sexual abuse survivor Lia Langworthy gives credit where it’s due and flashes fury where it’s not, as she works to come to terms with the backlash and flood of responses related to the alleged Harvey Weinstein harassments and assaults.
I’m grieving. I’m bouncing violently between the different stages of grief: primarily, anger and depression while patiently waiting for acceptance. Another “#MeToo” on my social media feeds can reduce me to tears or send me into fits of rage. I want to celebrate and cry. I’m torn between screaming, “Hell, yeah!” and “What now?” but mostly my grief simmers down into two conflicting sentiments: “Thank you” and “Fuck you.”
Thank you, Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan, for raising awareness on the widespread disease of sexual harassment and assault.
Fuck you, Alyssa Milano, for co-opting Tarana Burke’s phrase (a Black woman) who created #MeToo more than a decade ago. Thank you to Alyssa Milano, the media and many others for giving credit where credit is due once that appropriation came to light. But it came late.
Thank you to the millions of woman who have bravely shared their stories.
Fuck you to the millions of guilty predators, enablers and deniers.
Thank you to the handful of men who supported and believed our stories.
Fuck you for using your daughters as proof of solidarity while remaining silent.
Thank you to the social media platforms that allow hashtag activism and celebrity feminism to flourish.
Fuck you, you empty bitch known as hashtag activism and celebrity feminism for lumping being catcalled with being raped.
Thank you to ALL the woman who spoke intimately about painful memories despite having done so for decades.
Thank you for confirming and validating what we already know.
Fuck you to the masses who didn’t hear your voices until a group of rich, famous, wealthy, beautiful white women made your pain accessible.
Fuck you, world, for ignoring the millions who aren’t famous but, instead, sad and exhausted for screaming their truth into a void and not being heard until now.
Fuck you for silently saying their truth wasn’t enough.
Fuck you for putting the burden on us. Why must we lay our burdens and pain at your feet?
Fuck you for not placing such burden on those who perpetrate sexual violence, instead of us who have endured.
Fuck you toxic masculinity and blame-the-victimism, which encourages further silence.
Thank you to the men who apologized and admitted to being “a Harvey” at some point in their life.
Fuck you, your apologies don’t mean shit now.
Fuck you to the others yet named who abuse their power.
Fuck you to those men who benefited from their silence yet now want to be excused.
Fuck you to the men who misused the trust, faith and friendship of women.
Fuck you to those who feel entitled to my body.
Fuck you to the men I’ve had to fend off.
Fuck you for blaming me when you were the offender.
Fuck you to all the men who profited from the harassment and exploitation of women.
Fuck you to men who didn’t speak up in a woman’s defense.
Thank you, #MeToo, for pointing out the obvious. Now, let’s take action to eradicate systemic abuse of women, beyond #IBelieveYou and #IWill. I will.
Lia Langworthy is a graduate of UC Berkeley (BS) and UC Riverside (MFA). Primarily a TV writer (The Shield, Soul Food, Media) she also teaches at the UCLA’s Extension Writing Program. More importantly Lia is a single mother to a teenage daughter and a sexual abuse survivor.