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Haley Thomas @HaleyThomas09
, 20 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
It's time to tell my story #MeToo #Thread 👇🏽
Over the past few months I’ve had many conversations with men and women about the #MeToo movement. I've heard many say “why did they wait so long to come forward? Why now?"
I try to vaguely explain that it’s not that simple, but many people don’t seem to understand. So now I’ll tell my story, hoping it will help people get why coming forward isn’t always so easy. Why sometimes fighting for what’s right brings pain, not justice.
Over three years ago I was attacked by a man while out with friends. I was enjoying the night, when the next thing I know I was was being strangled from behind. It all happened so fast. Within moments I was struggling to breathe and fearing for my life.
I was unable to see my attacker but I could feel his strength. My body went into shock. But in that moment something inside of me chose to fight. I defended myself and injured my attacker. I was released from his grasp as he ran away. He was later found and was badly injured.
He was taken to the hospital and I was taken to jail.

Yes, you read that right. I was attacked, defended myself, and was thrown in jail. Over the next months things got worse.
Although there was CCTV footage of the attack and eyewitnesses who all assured the authorities my actions were self defence, my attacker chose to press charges against me.
Initially I didn’t want to press charges against him. I had experienced and survived the worst moment of my life and I just wanted it to be over. I wanted to heal, move on, and forget. But he gave me no choice, so I pressed charges too. Having to defend myself once more.
As the legal battle began I suffered mentally. I was interrogated by investigators, I spent more time in jail, and I was told by many that it was my fault. Within a blink of an eye I went from victim to criminal.
In my darkest moment, I was scared, ashamed, and lost. I was left feeling like life might not be worth living. What followed was a long process of mental recovery. I was diagnosed with PTSD and severe anxiety.
With support and love from those closest to me, I dug deep and continued to fight and to survive.
The legal fight continued for years. He sued me in civil and criminal courts. He made it clear he was not sorry for what he did. I thought my life was over, my career was ruined, and that I would go to prison.
Even as I write this now my hands are shaking and I feel sick to my stomach. Some nights I still wake up screaming, from flashbacks. Just yesterday I jumped as a colleague tried to get my attention from behind. The terror never really goes away, but I press on.
Almost four years later I write this feeling strong and determined. I know I am one of the lucky ones. I came out the other end of a horrific experience, not only surviving but thriving.
For all the people out there who haven’t been able to tell their story, it is okay. For the ones deciding whether to speak out or press charges, I understand your struggle. There isn’t a guide book on how to navigate assault. There isn’t one right way of dealing with it.
I’m glad the #MeToo movement is happening. We must talk, speak out, and engage even with those who don’t understand.
You wonder why survivors don’t come forward? I hope my story demonstrates the ridicule, the stress, the emotional distress and pain, that happens when we tell our stories.
I know your fear. I know your anger. I share your struggle. Telling your truth is scary, but it doesn’t have to define you. The issue isn’t “why didn’t she come forward” but “why do we live in a culture that supports the perpetrator over the survivor”.
It’s not my responsibility to hold my attacker accountable, but society’s. I am not to blame. What happened to me was not my fault. I’m not a victim. I’m a woman, a daughter, a sister, a friend. I’m a survivor.
So yeah, #MeToo
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