Tarana Burke is coming to Penn State Behrend during Holy Week.
She travels the country, speaking up as the founder of the me, too. movement.
I have a church gig that night, but it should work out for me to finish my offering on cello, pack up, and head across town to catch the back half with the other girls.
The thing about being sexually harassed, violated, or assaulted is that there are no witnesses. If you reveal yourself as the victim, you have to rely exclusively on your prior reputation, so established, and the trust of those who have known you forever.
When you tell your truth, publicly, it can feel like you’ve stepped onto the surface of another planet. Many don’t want to hear stories like yours. It reminds them of things they don’t want to think about, like how one isolated event can ruin an entire life.
But, this meeting, while open to the public, will probably only be attended by those who’ve been there. Girls, like me, who seek their own kind. Fools, all, gullible and vulnerable, feeling alternately stupid, humiliated, and many still as pained when they are reminded. How did we know one encounter would alter the course of everything?
We will meet each other. Strength, in numbers, and in emotional support. If you live where I do, and you know this open wound, come to the meeting. 7:30 pm, April 17, McGarvey Commons, Behrend Campus, Penn State University.
Thank you, Tarana Burke. You started it. Let’s find a way to finish it.
© 3/11/19 Ruth Ann Scanzillo.