You’ve probably heard about the #MeToo movement that has taken social media by storm. Women (and men) have been telling their stories online, courageously sharing what they’ve gone through. The hashtag has shed light to the world about how traumatic and disgusting the impact of sexual assault and harassment truly is. Alyssa Milano, an actress, took to her Twitter last Sunday to encourage women around the world to post about their heartbreaking stories.
The #Metoo hashtag is trending and currently has been tweeted over 500,000 times, however the first creator of the campaign was actually an activist by the name of Tarana Burke. She started the campaign in 2006 to help young women come forward with their stories, but with the recent onslaught of accusations made towards Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, the movement went viral. Not only is the hashtag found on Twitter; Facebook and Instagram users have started joining in, publicly acknowledging and empathizing the hardships that they, or other users, had gone through.
A Man’s Perspective:
“I spent so many years hating myself. As a child, everyone told me that developing a strong work ethic would be a real education that I would never forget. I was so excited to have a real job at sixteen. Late one night, a man was a good ten years older than me, drugged and raped me. I spent years looking into the mirror and hating the boy, then the man who looked back at me. It would be another sixteen years before I could say out loud at a Male survivors of rape meeting what happened to me. So deep was my pain that I could not speak of the violence which was made against me, I could not speak of it even when I was alone.” – Anonymous
A Woman’s Perspective:
” #MeToo. I was raped by an ex-boyfriend. After he was done, he repeatedly bragged about what happened to our friends, including comments like it being more fun when I wasn’t willing, etc. I was so ashamed by the fact that he did it and then bragged about it, that I never reported it… even despite the urging of my friends who ghosted him and stuck by me.” – Anonymous
It’s Not Okay
You see, this isn’t ok. I’m happy that this #MeToo movement has given victims of sexual abuse the power to speak up. With the allegations made against Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood, it allows everyone to see that many women, and even men, experience someone in their life that has been a Harvey Weinstein towards them. These instances don’t only happen to women in media, but also in corporate, which are supposedly “professional” work environments. This happens amongst family, friends, mentors, and strangers – occurring almost anywhere at anytime.
The perpetrators – disgusting human beings…their foul, vulgar actions have hurt so many, and yet they’re allowed to be free. So many victims have called out for help and have reported the individuals that have done them so much wrong, but have never received the justice they deserve. What is wrong with the justice system that we have in place? Why are victims taught to shut up and suffer in silence, when in fact, these criminals should be the ones behind bars, feeling the same pain and anguish their victims felt? They VIOLATE another human being, and are left to take advantage of others? That’s not ok. The problem lies within the justice system, causing victims to feel ashamed and embarrassed about what has happened to them, and also never truly acknowledging the faults of the perpetrators. Perpetrators are never properly punished, and many reported cases go ignored. The cases that aren’t ignored eventually fall on deaf ears, and in some cases, make the victims feel even more pain.
The power of this movement has made it possible for the victims to come out and truly express how they feel. They’re able to share and form a bond with other victims around the world, knowing that they no longer have to suffer and stay quiet. It’s brought awareness to the problem and opened the eyes of many. This campaign is a great stepping stone in bringing exposure, protesting, and saying no, and I’m so proud of every person who has stepped up. There are people who have never had to deal with sexual abuse, and this allows them to understand the pain that the victims have had to endure.
As a woman who has also had to deal with sexual harassment, I commend everyone who has built up the strength within themselves to share their unfortunate experiences. I say #MeToo as a woman who has experienced this, but also as a woman who stands with other victims, letting you know that you’re never alone. There is so much left to be done in the battle against sexual abuse and its predators, however this is a step in the right direction. Bringing exposure to the problem is monumental in its own right, paving a way for women to have a voice. Men have also been using the #HowIWillChange hashtag to bring about the changes they can make to help protect women and prevent sexual abuse.