One day, when I was 15, at the library to use the free computers, a man in his 40’s approached me. By that time, I already knew what it was all about. He asked me for drinks. I asked him what he wanted in exchange. He looked surprised, then pondered my question before admitting that I was a very smart young girl. Indeed, for many things in life, you can’t have something before giving something back.
He went outside to have a cigarette. At first, I felt confident talking to him but now, I was freaking out. I had no idea where he was going to take me. He could be my ticket to win the race, but at what cost?
So, I did what I do best: I hid. Underneath a bookshelf. I could see him waiting for me outside the library. The library closed. He was still there and I still couldn’t muster the courage to leave. Plus, on the bright side of things, it has always been a dream of mine to spend some time in an empty library and read all the books available. I stayed there for about an hour before being found by someone working there. Being harassed by men like me use to be a weekly occurrence for me. No matter where I was, I was never safe.
I would spend hours wondering what was wrong with me. I never used makeup and had a habit of dressing up in plain clothes to disappear more easily. So how come I was always seen as a walking sex object when the only thing I wanted was to mind my own business?
It became obvious that being a slut, just like being a virgin, were social concepts that didn’t make any sense except for trapping women from exercising a choice. No matter what mine was, no one would listen.
I wrote my film Me Too a few years ago. I wanted to write a truthful story about the impact of street harassment and sexual abuse on young women and to depict the main characters at a complicated time in their lives, and an event they go through which will shape them in a way that they can never go back to their previous selves.
It’s so important for me to tell this story because I think about young people, going through puberty, adolescence, but also grown-up things they are too young to handle. I hope that these stories will make them realize they are not alone. Others go through this.
Sexual abuse is brutal and cruel. It happens to ordinary people, to everyone. The victims don’t have to be good or innocent people. Innocence doesn’t protect children from it. And what happens then?
This aftermath is something I want to depict in Me Too, because it seems like no one cares but the victims. And that’s why I am making this movie, because something so important, so serious should be handled in a better way. I want the audience to face the ugly truth, the terrible things that are happening to these young girls who are just starting to learn more about their sexuality and are already so heavily sexualised.
Women and non-binary people from so many different countries have literally been through the same issues. Together we stand stronger.
That’s why I am making this movie. To give our stories a proper representation.
And we need your help to make our vision a reality. To tell survivors that we support them.