When to speak and what to say

Several events have gotten tangled in my thoughts over the last week, and they've made me consider when and how to say you've been hurt.

Last week, a group I participate in came to a decision in a way that hurt and disappointed me. (The exact details aren't important here, and I don't want to open old wounds.) I emailed the group about it and asked that we find ways to do better in the future. A leader of the group 'thanked me for my honesty' and told me that my message was not an appropriate use for the group email list. That particular leader did not otherwise acknowledge my concerns beyond excusing that person's own part in it. When the group met next in person, the same leader "reminded" the group about proper use of the group list.

Over the weekend, the corner of Twitter I stick my nose into blew up when Dr. Danielle Lee wrote about a very rude encounter she had, and her blog network pulled the post. Plenty of digital ink has been spilled on the subject already, so I refer you to elsewhere for the recap.

As the dust settled on that case, Monica Byrne came forward with the name of the man who sexually harassed her a year ago. It didn't take long for people to tell her she should not have done that.

My own hurts and disappointments are on a much, much smaller scale than what Dr. Lee and Ms. Byrne have so recently experienced, but they share some similarities: we've all spoken up about a way we felt wronged, and someone has felt the need to tell us that it wasn't the right time, place, or way to say what's on our minds.

If not now, then when? If not in public, then where am I being sent to hide? If not this way, then how shall I tell you? Heaven forbid the pain of one person should inconvenience another.

My hurts are small. I will heal quickly. But I wonder, when do you say "I have been hurt,"? How do you start the conversation? Must I always expect my audience to include an advocate for silence?