Finding Joy in standing up for what is right…. why I refuse to feel bad for sharing my story.

Wow, this week has been actual hell (That is me being incredibly dramatic). Let me paint a background for you.

If you haven’t seen it yet here is the story of me videoing a man harassing me.

Last week I was out running when a man decided to start catcalling and following me slowly in his truck. I, being the millennial that I am, got my phone out to record a small portion of the ordeal. Because why?

1. My job as a personal trainer consist of me using social media ALL THE DANG TIME. So yeah it was to bring awareness to my social media at first. But just for those who follow me. And I post videos almost every week, so this was nothing new for my followers.

2. Because getting catcalled, hollered at, hit on, followed, etc is something that women EVERYWHERE have to deal with. It is uncomfortable, it is degrading, and it is WRONG.

3. I wanted to shed a light on the fact that this sort of thing REALLY happens. It is not limited to dark alleys, construction sights, or down the streets of a busy city. It happened to me in my own neighborhood in broad daylight.

Women everywhere are SICK and TIRED of being hit on, catcalled, and whistled at as they just try to walk down the street, buy their groceries, or get their mail. It’s NOT okay. I’m reminded that all women are wonderfully created in the image of God. We are not objects to conquer or possessions for men to dominate. And I felt that posting my experience would help other women not feel alone, so I posted it.

Here is the video…..

Anyways, long story short this video went viral. I woke up to it having 2.5k views overnight. Then it grew to 20.8k. I have had 6 tv stations and 4 online news companies reach out to interview me for my story including national tv shows. At first I thought this was great because women everywhere would hear my story and not feel alone. As I’ve mentioned before I know how common this is for women and there needs to be an end to it. The interviews all went great because everyone was on my side and understanding. I had random people messaging me saying thank you for standing up for this issue. I had men message me apologizing on behalf of all men. I had girls share their experiences with me. The list of positive affirmation went on.

Until I woke up one morning to a message from a woman that said, “Attention seeking low life feminist.” When I read that, to be honest, I wanted to respond with, “First of all B#@!^” but I remembered I’m a Christian woman and God called me to love. So I ignored it because it was only one person and I wasn’t about to let her dull my sparkle. Then another comment came through that read, “She’s only doing this to build her business.” All my facebook friends backed me up immediately because they know who I am, they know I honor God the best I can with my life, and they know I’m an honest woman. I was upset but I felt good because my friends and family defended me. But yesterday when a local radio show and tv station posted about it on their personal page the negative comments came rolling in. People, who don’t even know me, commenting pure hatred.

“Dumb millennial. Who takes a video instead of calling 911?!”

“She’s just doing this for attention.”

“Stop trying to become a #metoo Victim.”

“Get over yourself”

“Why didn’t you call the police? You obviously staged this then.”

Some men even praised the man who harassed me and took his side.

LIKE, WHAT!?!!?!

I was upset to say the least. To the point where I had to completely turn my facebook off so I wouldn’t see these awful comments. I even changed my name on facebook for safety.

The point of this blog is not to defend myself, because I have nothing to defend, but to say this…

I am not. And I will not feel bad for posting that video.I chose to post a video to my personal accounts so that I could get the word out that women everywhere are being harassed. Did he attack me physically? No. Did he threaten my life? No. But that does not exempt what he did to me. He degraded me, he made me uncomfortable, and he scared me. And that’s something men everywhere are doing often to women. IT NEEDS TO END!

Let me make this clear: I know the impact and the meaning behind the #MeToo movement. I respect those women to the highest degree. I would never make light of that movement. EVER. And I would not consider my situation to be one comparable to what some of the women who are a part of the #MeToo movement have endured. Could I have handled the situation better? Maybe. If I called the police what would I have said? “Hi, this man who hasn’t attacked me, hasn’t touched me, hasn’t threatened my life is following me. He’s just making me really uncomfortable.” I just didn’t feel at the time it was necessary. Should I have videoed the experience like I did? Maybe some of you think not. But I beg to differ. Because 1st of all, I’m a millennial. We record everything. And 2nd, my video touched the lives of lots of women and that was my goal. My goal wasn’t to gain followers (although its interesting that 90% of my new followers are all men who have messaged me to hit on me). It wasn’t to have a weeks worth of Arizona news fame. It was to let others know the truth of what really happens.

If any of you follow me you know that I post videos of encouragement, daily life, motivation and so on quite OFTEN. Me posting this video was not out of the norm for me to do.

So to those of you who are messaging and commenting encouragement I want to thank you. Thank you so much for your support, for your belief in me, and for the encouragement. You all have made this easier for me. And to the tv stations thank you for helping me shed a light on this problem.

AND FOR ALL YOU HATERS: Those of you who are writing hate about me need to remember that I am a person too. I see your comments. I took a stand for something I believed in and in return you are putting me down just to feel better about yourself. Your comments say more about who you are as a person than what you have to say.

My next reminder is to all of you. People! WORDS HURT! They really do. Cyber Bullying is a real thing. I dare all of the people who have said hateful things to physical walk up to me and say them to my face. You won’t. I bet nobody would have the guts to actually speak the words they type behind a computer. Hurting others with your words doesn’t make you a better human. It doesn’t make you look cool, it doesn’t get you popularity.

And to the girls and women who have had to deal with this situation. Stand up for yourself. Let’s make this known to the world that it HAS TO END #TIMESUP. It’s time for women to be treated with respect and honor. The way Christ has called us to! Jesus Himself broke all the social norms in his day and communicated with love and respect to all people – especially women.

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

1 Timothy 5: 1-2

Even if you aren’t a Christian i feel that this verse is relevant. It is exactly how any good hearted man would want his daughter, mother, sister, cousin to be treated.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ashley Martin says:

    I think it’s so important that you stood up Mckenzie. I was just talking to one of my youth about one of her teachers who was being verbally abusive to her and the majority of the students in her class and she was afraid to say anything. I encouraged her to say something because that gives other people the strength to find their voices too. So thank you for being a voice to all the women who have experienced degrading crap like this because just because it’s not life threatening doesn’t mean that it isn’t a big deal. Love ya girl!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carole Terrell says:

    . McKenzie, you are an amazing, strong woman. I applaud you for posting your video to social media to remind us if you see something, do something. It cannot have been easy to wake up to realize over night you have become someone to “attack while hiding behind a keyboard”. You were harassed on the street and then again on social media. You have a strong sense of self-worth to know, this is about them, not about you. Thank you for standing up to the bullies and challenging us to “stand in” when we see it happen to others.
    When we are uncomfortable, we can lash out or do nothing or we can do something. Thank you for continuing to stand up for what is right and speaking the truth in the face of the bullies who are not willing to take that stand.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ellen says:

    When you are all out for Christ, Satan will attack. He knows God and he doesn’t want anyone to follow God. So, he attacks those who are on the road that proclaims love. The good news is God wins every time. Stay strong, don’t read the lies, and don’t back down.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. TJ says:

    Hey McKenzie,

    I’m so sorry that you had to experience the negative side of going viral. The internet can be a very mean place. People apologized on behalf of all men, now I feel an apology is owed to you on behalf of all the internet because it’s not right.

    For what it’s worth, No “hitting on” intentions from me. Not religiously compatible. 🙂

    So…me and my investment in this story is A.) a ridiculous amount of free time and curiosity. B.) I’ve had roommates who were women who went running and complained of this exact thing. C.) This is happening in my back yard.

    You put all those things together, it’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole. Is that strange? Creepy even? Probably, but it was all public.

    I have a lot of respect for entrepreneurs. I keep trying to figure out what i can do outside of a 9-5 but nothing seems to stick and it’s easy to feel self-doubt and self-pity, so the stories that you and Lindsey have – how you got to where you are – at least what you have shared publicly – is so incredibly inspiring and encouraging.

    It’s very strange though because it’s almost like this one sided “celebrity” fandom where I know a fair amount of social media crap about you to the point where I’d be excited to have you guys as actual friends in actual life, but you don’t know a lick about me.

    It infuriates me that people say this isn’t a story worth sharing because you weren’t physically assaulted. We don’t need to see crimes in order to prevent crimes. Thank goodness you happened to be a fit trainer who could out-run them.

    The internet will move on to the next thing soon enough.

    I am so excited to try to gym you referred me to, so thanks a million for that,

    Best of luck in moving forward from your 15 minutes of fame.

    Liked by 1 person

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