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In recent months, it has been revealed that multiple celebrities — namely, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey — are guilty of the sexual harassment and/or assault of multiple young men and women.

In light of these revelations, as well as the subsequent #MeToo movement, Elissa Levan reflects on her personal encounters with people of similar character, as well as what we, as a society, can do to better understand and aid everyday victims of such intrusions.

When I got off the elevator in the lobby of my office building one day, a man looked me up and down. You know what I mean. His head moved.

When I said, “Me too,” I didn’t even mean this — that anonymous, everyday, run of the mill, catcall-on-the-street harassment. I don’t even mean this. I meant things far darker and more damaging.

This wasn’t a Harvey Weinstein moment. It hardly even counts, even though actually it’s  exhausting. Isn’t it ridiculous?

I wish I had told him my body was not here for his morning entertainment.  

I hope my daughter does when it happens to her.

Everyone wants to be noticed, to be acknowledged as a presence in the universe. It is lovely when someone nods hello to you in passing, or says, “Have a nice day,” when he or she gets off the elevator.  But there is a difference between that and someone letting me know he has mentally weighed my relative value as an addition to the public aesthetic.

While I debate whether to post this, I think about what people will think.

“What was she wearing?”

“What about those heels?”

“No, not at her age.”

Or even, “Nope, I can’t see that happening.”

I don’t want to debate those things. I want to talk about the question you may also have, “Why is she posting about something so trivial that she acknowledges it is only the wind passing by?”  

Because this stuff happens to us, to our daughters, to our nieces, to our mothers, to our aunts, and to our co-workers — it really does, and it shouldn’t happen. Furthermore, it wears us down

It sets the context for the environment we operate in. And we are sad and we are exhausted. And it has to start to stop with the smallest things. This.

So, if you ask us how we are at the end of the day and we sigh and say fine, maybe that sigh is the sound of some of the crap we’ve been carrying around all day and can’t hold in anymore.