#MeToo: Eryn’s story

January 24, 2018

 

 

This is a follow up post about the #MeToo movement and the issue of social shaming. [Click here to read it.]

It was a Friday night and I received an invitation to celebrate a friend’s birthday at a local brewery. I had previously made this friend after filming on location with him for a few months. He was generally a kind person with an easy disposition, and we laughed a lot through tough moments on set.

When I arrived at the brewery I noticed he had had quite a bit to drink, and as the night waned, friends dwindled and he was left inebriated and alone. Concerned, I offered to walk him home to a fellow friend’s house. While assisting his staggering journey to his friend’s apartment, I was surprised to find my friend’s hands in places they ought not to be. I dropped him off and left the situation feeling safe but unsettled.

At first, it sat with me as an awkward story to laugh about with my roommate. But I felt bothered in a distant place within me.  As a day passed, the unsettled feeling was compounded by not receiving any acknowledgement from my friend of what he had done.

No More Unspoken Justifications

I reasoned that he had been drunk, that he hadn’t realized what he was doing, that he likely wouldn’t even remember. And as these voices rattled within me, this conversation resurfaced. I was reminded of the many women that had experienced far worse yet still wrote off their emotions to justify the man’s behavior. This reticence to speak bothered me more than the actual situation itself.

So I turned to one of my spiritual guides, Arad, to offer his perspective. Here is what he said:

“We refer to a most recent experience with—shall we say, an ‘acquaintance’ of yours who used his inebriation as excuse to take advantage of your kindness and loyalty and to offer disrespect to your body in a release of his pent-up sexual aggression.”

And direct he certainly was.

“You cannot claim it does not bother you when such a display only shows regard for his needs and desires and not for you and your boundaries.”

“Notice your first instinct is to apologize on his behalf and make excuses…it hurts you just the same to think that your trust is being abused in such an egregious way. Yes, regardless of how inebriated one appears to be, one is on a certain level aware of one’s actions, and so to say that he was not, does you both a disservice for it claims responsibility from him and in the process, off-sets it on you. You can not offer to hold this. You cannot claim it does not bother you when such a display only shows regard for his needs and desires and not for you and your boundaries.”

And beyond understanding why I was bothered so much by this, he went on to explain how this related to my personal power and needing to stop certain belief systems from forming:

“You can equally acknowledge a part of you that goes into self blame and thinks—’well, the moment I own my power and my sexuality, it is taken advantage of.’ No, dear one. Own your sexuality, own your physicality, own of your sweetness and strength in equal measure—and know that it does not mean that showing it for others to see will mean you are offering it up for others to take. No. No. No.”

An interesting point that I am exploring with Arad in further depth now.

“We would say then, in closing, that you can be sure to tell this to him with compassion and empathy…that you have the emotional intelligence here and this will always give you a firm guardian in approaching any situation whose outcome is or had been unworthy of you. So we offer this, that an opportunity might come to pass in the near future allowing you to say what needs to be said and letting go of it, as you should.”

When he messaged her a few nights later, she used the opportunity to initiate the dialogue, following the guidance of Arad and Khaled.

Using Compassion, But Holding Accountability

He was profusely apologetic, stating he did not remember anything shortly after their departure from the brewery, that he was mortified by his behavior, and glad that he had been made aware. I expressed compassion, letting him know that his apology was accepted. Their dialogue was friendly and understanding. And while I am unsure about the future of our friendship, the emotion around the topic was alleviated and I felt finally at ease about how I handled it.

Some might say that I was too forgiving, that perhaps I would be enabling him by offering him compassion. I acknowledge ultimately that his behavior is not my responsibility to correct, but only to reflect back to him to change.

Some might say that I was too forgiving, that perhaps I would be enabling him by offering him compassion. I acknowledge ultimately that his behavior is not my responsibility to correct, but only to reflect back to him to change. All the while heeding the advice of my guides that, “next time if you feel this, we encourage you to walk away.”

I believe learning to express my value directly is a part of my own re-evolution and the re-integration of my feminine power.  And with help and guidance from my ‘unseen friends,’ I see this possibility now more than ever before.

I hope sharing this story will help other young women like me, as well as guys, to tackle these situations in a way that will help transform this systemic issue that is rising to national attention.

—Eryn

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