Op-Ed: One lesson from the Weinstein case is that men like me must speak out about abuse
As survivors go, Chelsea Manning is a survivor of sustained violence and mistreatment by the National Security Agency. Yet in the days since she’s been called out and shamed by the United States Senate for having the audacity to speak about her experiences, her actions have been praised by many – most recently by Donald Trump Jr. (who tweeted she should “be admired” and lauded her bravery).
Yet not all the abuse Chelsea has endured is of the sexual variety. A recent interview with The Awl.com, a website dedicated to publishing ‘true’ stories of courage and adversity, revealed a different kind of suffering:
She shared a story of growing up. “I would be running with a group of friends,” she said. “And on one fateful night in October, I was chased from the back of my house by a group of teens, a handful of boys in high school. They cornered me in my living room, they were yelling, ‘This is your fault,’ and ‘You’re a liar, liar.’ And I saw their faces, and I had this moment of realization, that I couldn’t run and tell my parents that I was going to be murdered.”
It was, she said, the moment that she decided the NSA should be shut down. “I thought maybe this information should be going into the government and used to fight terrorism,” she said. “I thought they were the next 9/11. We don’t know how it happened.”
She has since been held in solitary confinement, denied basic human rights, and has had her phone confiscated to prevent possible calls on the outside. She has been strip-searched and subjected to verbal abuse by guards. The experience has caused her to suffer from post-traumatic stress and depression.
I want Chelsea Manning to feel comfortable about telling her life story, and for her to know that her courage and bravery is a message to the people that do not understand her, or see all that that she has been through as nothing. But that courage and bravery should never define anyone.
“I was always a writer because I had these emotions rolling around