By Brittany Tiplady
This past weekend I was taking the bus home, and followed to my seat by a man who had been previously sitting at the front of the vehicle. He stood next to my aisle seat, brooding over me as the bus filled up with the Granville street rush. As the bus became more chaotic with the increase of passengers, he inched his hips closer towards my face. Each time the bus stopped, the closer his black jeans thrusted towards my ears. With my personal space now violated, I shifted my knees and angled my body towards the woman next to me, looking up and behind ever so quickly to catch a glimpse of his face peering down at me. He sneered.
At my stop, I grabbed my bag, stood up, and forcefully threw myself off the bus in what felt like one whirlwind moment of “I’ve gotta get the fuck off this thing.”
I forgot about the incident by the end of my walk home. That’s approximately four minutes.
Later at dinner I told my husband what had happened and opened with: “Oh my God, I forgot tell you!” And then I realized: how could I forget that? A strange male on public transit had deliberately thrusted his crotch in my face for 15 minutes. That’s not a forgettable encounter.
What is increasingly fucked up is that women deal with this shit so often it becomes an afterthought. We forget that we had been violated in public after four minutes because that has become a norm in the female narrative.
Men do fucked up things, we feel unsafe, frightened, vulnerable, and move on.
When the #MeToo movement caught fire on social media, I was on my honeymoon and felt embarrassed to not be actively participating. CBS news reported today that the #MeToo movement reached 85 countries with 1.7 million tweets. Truthfully, working in feminist media comes with a lot of social-media induced pressure. I chose to remain quiet on my personal accounts, digesting what was circling around me online, and reading the honest, heartbreaking, and powerful stories the women on my feed had the courage to share, and continue to divulge.
Like everything in life and feminism, I’m still learning and I’m not in a place where I feel ready to share my story. Even for an open gal like me, my experience isn’t ready for Instagram. I worry that my silence is perceived as indifferent, that my privilege is at the helm of this decision, that my patriarchy-smashing-chops are getting weak. But that is the farthest from the truth. I am in full-fucking- solidarity and support of the women who continue to participate in this movement with active voices.
I believe that the #MeToo movement continues to be a force in the wake of tragedy-I applaud the women that took the online podium to share, to educate, and demonstrate the most vulnerable act of strength. I believe you, and you better believe I stand right beside you. New information is coming out nearly every day, and new abusers are being publicly identified, shamed and fired from their jobs.
Women aren’t fucking around and the energy is palpable.
I’m not ready to share my story, and I may never be. And that’s okay too. My work now lies in supporting those who are ready to share theirs, and to help ensure that their voices and their bravery is not in vain.
We are all swimming around in this pond of transition and change and figuring out our own place in it all.
For Kristi and I, our place is in this little platform we created over two years ago, and we are learning, as we all are, to keep our minds and hearts open to this powerful shift in our culture. To be relevant, but to also be mindful, and to come forward with the utmost journalistic and human integrity.
May you be triggered, or empowered, or saddened or strengthened, we are here.
Brittany Tiplady is a part-time poet, a full-time Nasty Woman, and the co-founder ofLoose Lips Magazine. She loves the indoors, fast wifi, collecting maps, and a generous glass of red wine. She is a self-proclaimed wizard of time management, and a notorious loud talker with a penchant for all things Internet.