#MeToo: “You’re beautiful” he whispered in my ear as he slipped his hands from behind me, cupping my budding breasts. I was twelve years old. I stood frozen, not knowing what to do. My mother was a Sunday School teacher for persons with Downs Syndrome. We were having lunch after church at the home of one of her special students, who was thirty years old but had the constant joy of a seven-year-old child.
Her father was my assailant. He was over sixty years of age. It was a hot Florida summer’s day. I had changed out of my church dress and into his wife’s cotton scoop-neck, 3/4 sleeve, to-my-mid-calf, full-zipper-front house coat so I could be cooler as we sat upon their plastic-encased upholstery, which otherwise stuck to my legs.
The kind lady-of-the-house offered a spare bedroom where I could change. She left and closed the door behind her. Having changed, I opened the door to walk down the hall back to my mother. For a moment, I turned back in the open doorway to look at the dresser mirror, surveying the very dowdy house dress I was now wearing.
It happened quickly.
Her fetid husband walked up behind me and whispered in my ear that I was beautiful as he felt my breasts. I said nothing. Frozen still. He was standing behind me, staring at me through the dresser mirror’s refection. Predatory-shell-of-a-man. Then he just walked away. I’ll never forget that moment.
I knew my mother would be enraged with this man if I told her, so I kept silent.
I should have told her anyway.
I. Should. Have. Told. Her. Anyway.
We never went back to that family’s house again. I made sure of that. Always had an excuse not to go.
I wanted my mom to keep enjoying the special students she taught, let her keep her safe space of happiness. We had enough anger as we adjusted at home a few years after my parents’ divorce.
I cannot fully articulate the repercussions of that encounter. It breaks something innocent. There were other moments of #Metoo later in life, harsher, but I find sharing this moment to be the most productive. Thank God the story doesn’t end there.
Was this a man of faith? NO. He does not represent Biblical Manhood to me in any way. Good men are self-sacrificing, protective, self-disciplined, and loving. That predator’s legacy is being complicit with the enemy of our souls. Ineffective and insignificant.
I hesitate to share this story because I believe there’s something really amazing about men and masculinity-enacted-in-love. Good Men are needed. Even Healing.
The breed of kindness, care, faith, self-disciplined, and hopeful perspective honorable men share is a welcome gift. Still, I choose carefully and I am fiercely protective. That’s why my father is such a hero to me. Such an honorable, patient, giving Man.
“The right man will wait for you. He will honor you. I’m waiting for my wife and my wedding gift will be my intimacy.” This idea was shared with me by a guy-friend when I was sixteen and his example changed my perspective.
Honorable Men who love God, dedicated to service and self-discipline, inspire trust. And trust is the bedrock of love. I’ve been blessed to witness several of these honorable men in action.
Powerful. Like a Sonic Boom.
My friend honored his word and waited for his wife. He inspired me to wait for my late-husband, and so I did.
“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.” Matt 10:16
Men, I believe that #MeToo is really an outcry for examples of true Manhood expressed through kindness, commitment, self-discipline, and honor. Don’t relinquish your birthright of true, effective, living-legacy Power for anything less than God has for you. Like Essau and Jacob, don’t trade your birthright of incredible influence for immediate desires that lead to fates worse than death or poverty: ongoing pain, loss or purpose, and disrespectful insignificance.
I have learned this…Have faith that there are honorable men and, yet, still be shrewd as a serpent, use defensive movements to protect yourself if necessary, have healthy boundaries, Speak Up, ask God for the strength to forgive the unforgivable as a gift of healing to yourself, and educate your children.
And EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN.