20 Saying Something
I made a list of 100 things I should do that scare me. In 2020, I plan to complete all 100.
A few years back, I was hurt by someone in the workplace. The nature of the situation was that I was not the first victim. I remember hiding away in a bathroom stall, in mental and emotional pain, silent-screaming . . .
And internally cursing the name of the first victim. You know why?
Because he said nothing.
He could have said something. If he’d said something, the powers that be would have known about the behavior of the person who hurt me, and my pain could have so, so easily been prevented. But the first victim didn’t say anything, so I had to go through everything he went through. His silence felt astonishingly selfish.
When I got hurt, the events ended up coming to light without my having to do anything, and the situation was rectified for the future without my having to step out in any sort of bravery. (I still had to contend with the pain of the initial damage, but the people in charge at the time actually took very good care of me, and I ended up being fine and bearing no scars.)
This year, I was hurt again. Different situation, different place, different people. This time, I don’t know if I was the first victim or not. All I knew was that I was going to do everything in my power to make sure I was the last.
Speaking out when you’ve been hurt can be terrifying. I’m not angry with that “first victim” from all those years ago anymore. His silence no longer seems selfish to me.
I spent a night crying that facing this fear wasn’t worth it—that I didn’t care enough about the next victims to walk into this battle. That the next victims could fend for themselves, just as I was forced to fend for myself. That they could suffer like I suffered, for all I cared. I wanted more than ever to run away.
It’s said that love casts out fear. That night, I discovered that the reverse is true.
But I didn’t run away. I went to bat, I did everything I could—and I have no idea what will come of it. All I know is this: if there is to be another victim, their blood is not on my hands (figuratively speaking).
Level 5. This isn’t a fear that can be diminished through facing it, either. If I ever have to do it again, it will still be level 5.
But I’d do it again.