Courtesy of NBC News
In October of 2017, women started coming forward accusing Harvey Weinstein, a then renowned film producer, of sexual assault. Soon, by October 31, not only had around 80 women made sexual misconduct allegations against him, but the “Me Too” movement had also gained power and gone viral.
Created by the social activist Tarana Burke in 2016, the phrase “Me Too” has been empowering through empathetic means for women survivors of sexual assault, by showing them they are not alone and allowing them to come forward with their stories. The movement rose after the actress Alyssa Milano tweeted the phrase, encouraging its spread. It gained force as more and more women reunited tweeting #metoo and telling their sexual assault stories. Some of the celebrities that shared their accounts include Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence, Uma Thurman. The movement became a trend in at least 85 countries, such as in China (#我也是 or #WoYeShi), Russia (#Ятоже), and Finland (#memyös), showing that violence assault is a worldwide problem.
Fortunately, the movement also rose outside of the Internet, as women increasingly started reporting their abusers – emphasis to Harvey Weinstein here, who I’m glad to say got dismissed from his company and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Reports also increased in the military, government, music industry,church, sports (Larry Nassar – gymnastics doctor at Michigan State University), and the finance sector.
So what is the whole point of the #MeToo Movement?
If it is not clear yet, the “Me Too” movement is extremely important. As quoted in the movement’s website, it was ultimately created to ensure survivors know they’re not alone in their journey, therefore aiding in their process of healing. However, it has also encouraged women to report their aggressors, and has allowed for the more than vital discussions on sexual violence in the mainstream.
The movement is disrupting the system that allows for abusers to go unpunished and for women to be silenced. That’s why it has to be continuously fueled and spread.
If what was written previously is not enough to make clear why the “Me Too” movement is important, I would recommend doing your own research.
So how do I help the movement?
There are many ways to help. First join the ‘metoo.’ movement on their website. Second, make the difference in your environment. Join women empowerment groups and bring up the discussion; support the survivors by creating a safe place for them; encourage your school to create or disseminate resources to both prevent sexual assault and aid the victims; and finally, support the women around you.
It is time for us women to come forward and unite. In a society that is constantly putting us against each other, let’s support one another, and aid women that need help and help prevent these things from happening, because unfortunately, sexual assault is far from becoming extinct.
How to report sexual assault?
1. Call 911 – for immediate danger
2. Call the local police or campus police
3. Call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673).
It is a confidential line with many resources related to sexual assault, including support from a trained staff member to find a local health facility, to help you talk through what happened, to assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery, and to give Information about the laws in your community
4. Visit a medical center
Learn more at RAINN.org