Working with Anne on this week’s Issue was incredibly eye-opening for me. It was eye-opening in the way that much of this project has been - in that it has forced me once again to reconsider my experiences and the way they fit within a larger story.
Like most people, I am prone to making assumptions, to projecting my own opinions and ideas upon others and their personal narratives. As Anne and I spoke more about her trauma, and about the way that she dealt with it over the last several decades, I came to realize that so many of my preconceptions were wrong - or at least that they didn’t quite fit. I came to understand a meaning of privilege apart from those I already try to recognize: that of growing up a twenty-something in 2020, when, thanks to movements like Me Too, women are encouraged to speak up, to pursue whatever career path they choose, and to seek and demand value outside of their physical appearances.
There is no fine line between 1986 and 2020, no black-and-white distinction between treatment of sexual assault victims then and now. No one snapped their fingers and made things perfect for women and girls. But things are getting better. They are getting better slowly, thanks to all of the women and allies who came before us.
Anne is our first contributor above the age of 26. The minute we started working on this piece, I realized just how crucial a voice we had been missing. While most of our earlier contributors have only had a few years to contemplate their trauma, Anne has had over three decades to observe how one moment sent shock waves in every direction: it altered her career, her self-image, and her sense of trust and security.
Speaking with her about her experience was deeply educational and deeply emotional for me. I was struck by her seemingly conflicting messages of minimizing her trauma and describing its lifelong effects. But I think that is sort of what the Me Too Movement is all about: women sharing trauma that is simultaneously common and of critical importance. And that’s what Anne told me, placing her story within the broader context of Harvey Weinstein and the ensuing social media wave: “It’s just another story about another creepy man who crushed your dreams.”