TW: Sexual assault, sexual harassment
If you’ve been on social media in the past three days or so, you’ve probably seen #Metoo surface somewhere on your feed. It’s become a talking point in many different capacities, which was the original aim of it. It’s something that stands for an issue that is scarily present in our society today, and you should understand what it means when you see your sister, mother, best friend, or coworker share a status update saying #Metoo.
The origins of #Metoo stem from the reports of Harvey Weinstein and the allegations of sexual assault against him. This has been a hot topic in the past week, and women across the country decided it was time that people start realizing the magnitude of the issue of sexual assault. And so, #Metoo was born.
Anyone that has survived sexual assault or harassment was invited to share on their social media the hashtag, in order to allow people to understand just how big this issue was. And let me tell you, it did just that. Never have I seen such a rallying movement in such a short amount of time stem from two words. Women who barely knew each other and women who knew each other for years were rallying to support, to send love, and sadly, to exchange their own stories.
Seeing these statuses pop up one by one was heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. It was heartbreaking because the number of statuses I saw, which was too many to count. The fact that all of these strong and amazing women I know from all different walks of life have this same terrifying experience is gut-wrenching. At the same time, however, it becomes uplifting to see these same strong women conjure enough bravery to share their stories for a bigger effort. These women are still here to tell their story, and while it’s so disturbing to realize how many women have endured this kind of pain, they are the ones with the power to make a change.
Women who aren’t quite ready yet to publicly post #Metoo without a doubt see these same posts, and it lets them know that they are not alone in their suffering. Just because someone doesn’t post #Metoo doesn’t mean they don’t have their own story. It just means they aren’t in a place ready to share yet, and that is perfectly fine too. Even if this hashtag encourages someone to share their story with just one person they trust, it already is fulfilling its purpose.
I’ve seen growth within my friends and family that have lived with a story of sexual assault in their posting of their experiences. To see them open up to the world is something truly special, something unexplainable as a friend to watch. I’m so proud of each and every woman who is continuing to live their truth, as scary and daunting as it may seem.
#Metoo is just the start of a revolution to make our society a safer place for us all. It gets the conversation about sexual assault going, and it makes us realize that this is something that happens all too often. Sexual assault does not have to be our normal, it does not have to be accepted, and that change starts with us.