Every 98 seconds.
One in six women.
One in 33 men.
Twenty-one percent of transgender, gender queer and gender-nonconforming college students.
All these statistics, courtesy of RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), deal with one type of crime: sexual assault. (Visit www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence for more information and full citations.)
The statistics are astounding, to say the least.
In recent months, it’s been all but impossible to ignore the growing number of prominent people who have been accused of participating in or otherwise perpetrating sexual harassment, assault or rape. Out of this, a hashtag movement, #MeToo, was born.
“I became more and more aware of the #MeToo movement, like most people,” said Robin Carson. “I saw the news stories flashing more and more male perpetrators day after day. It became really bad for me when I saw Charlie Rose, a man I watched daily, being splashed across the screen. He wasn’t reporting on the story — he was the story.”
Carson said in the midst of the “daily disgustingness” was #MeToo.
“I had already been actively working on healing form sexual trauma,” Carson said. “I didn’t want to be pulled down into depression. And then, beside all the perpetrators, I saw women who were speaking their truth through the #MeToo movement.”
Carson said she wanted to bring the movement to life for the local community. That’s why, 6-9 p.m. Jan. 31, her MeToo event will take place at the Cloverleaf Sports Bar & Grill, 1240 Hollis St., Bremerton. The event is free.
Carson said this event is about sharing, supporting and healing. Nobody attending will be obligated to share their story, or even have a story. Supporters are welcome. Not everybody in attendance needs to be female. Carson said some men in the audience may choose to share their stories as well — not all victims are women.
“Anyone is allowed to attend the event,” she said. “What I don’t want are people who … there are some people who think about this in a negative light. I’ve encouraged some of them to attend to just listen.
“It’s beyond me how anyone would take this in a negative way, and I think that if they heard women speak, and that this is not attacking men … maybe this will open some minds and educate some people in the process.”
Carson said she’s new at this sort of thing — organizing a community event — and she’s learning as she’s going. Currently, a handful of women will be speaking as planned, Carson included. Carson writes poetry, and will be choosing to read some of that as related to her experience. Another woman will be playing music.
“I also think it’s really important to have people in the audience who are supporting women who are brave enough to stand and tell their stories,” she said. “This is new for me, and I’m open to suggestions, and people who can offer anything to enhance this event.”
Carson said she’s there to support anyone who needs it; if that person has written down their story or a poem and wishes it to be read, but feels unable to stand up and share it themselves, Carson is willing to read for them.
“I felt like there are so many stories that aren’t being told,” Carson said. “So many women. The more and more I have spoken to women over the years, the more I hear that there’s so many, it’s so prevalent.”
Contacting her ahead of time would make planning easier, but Carson said no one is required to “sign up” to talk.
“There’s going to be women who may be sitting in the audience as supporters who decide they want to tell their stories; they may make that decision based on being in the moment and finding that glimmer of bravery,” Carson said. “It’s not easy for a lot of us as individuals who get up on stage. I certainly am going to be stuttering and stammering myself, because I have stage fright … If someone wants to tell their story or read a poem or do something, I will definitely not exclude them.”
“I believe the more we speak our truth and come out of the shadows and silence, the more people will come face to face with the problems of this epidemic,” Carson said. “The more we tell our stories, the more empowered we become. As we bare our souls and cut to the marrow of the source of the pain, the more we will heal, and those around us, including some perpetrators, will know we have found our voices and that we’re not going to be silent anymore.”
Learn more at goo.gl/e6AMra, or contact Carson at 360-990-9191.
— Michelle Beahm is online editor for Kitsap News Group. She can be reached at email@example.com.