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#Not Silent Under My Watch

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Portrait of woman by Gustav Klimvt

Portrait of woman by Gustav Klimvt

So Steve still hasn’t gotten back to me and it has been almost two weeks since the realization sank in that he took advantage of me and my body when I was an undergraduate at my alma mater and since I tried contacting him six or seven times to address this situation and as I had a few questions for him. His silence is an admission of guilt. I noticed that his FB profile picture had been changed and a few pictures of his family had been taken down. Yet, he still has yet to offer a formal apology or even to acknowledge this situation.

I am a human being and believe I’m owed at least an apology because I am the victim and HAVE NOT DONE ANYTHING WRONG. For all his talks of humanization at his website ZamyGo, he is attempting to — whether he realizes it or not — dismiss and dehumanize what happened …as if it is something to be glossed over. Is a crime something to be glossed over or brushed aside? Is an assault against a woman and her body something to be ignored or neglected? Even though Steve’s actions betray his desire to bury this issue, I’m sure that justice will prevail.

Kind of like the #MeToo movement which took one woman — Tarana Burke, an American activist who along with a group of other prominent activist women is also dubbed the “silence breaker” and was named Time’s Person of the Year in 2017 and is the Director of Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn, NYC — to unleash a powerful movement and force to be reckoned with in the 21st century, I would like to start a new movement and hashtag — #notsilentundermywatch. How is he any different from Harvey Weinstein who sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women and thought he got away with it for decades? An attack against a woman means an attack against the rest of the population and one person’s suffering is everyone’s suffering. I do not believe that Steve will get away with what he did because he assaulted me for no reason and somehow thought that I would be silent and NOT speak out about his crime. And there might be other women out there who can relate to this story and may have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault from Steve. What he is doing is treating women like invisible beings that he can wreak havoc on according to his desires and whim, but Life does not work that way. I feel so preyed upon, as if this predator — patriarchy and a sense of entitlement and objectification and sexualization of women and abuse wrapped up in a person named Steve — has sank its teeth into me temporarily because and based on the fact that I am a woman. Women are multi-dimensional beings with complexities and complications — and with a %100 right to CONSENT — and if a man — or Steve, in this case — does not like or recognize that, then what more is there to say?

Sexual assault is a crime and it is a serious crime. The Kansas police said that this is actually a felony. So had I reported this incident in 2001, there would have been criminal repercussions to his actions. History will, I’m sure, will not let this crime go unnoticed — his silence is a sign of his blindness, callousness and blatant disregard for me as a human being and as a woman. His kids will one day know what he did because history has a way of conjuring up dictators and tyrants and perpetrators and abusers and criminals to reckon with their victims, the ones they violently sought to dismiss. I will NOT be silenced and from this day forward, let the hashtag #notsilentundermywatch begin as a symbol of hope to women everywhere — victims and survivors of gender-based violence — that the perpetrators will not go without impunity and a sense of justice or reprehension for their crimes.

© 2021 Susan Lee

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