#MeToo

Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was recently accused of sexual harassment and assault by over 30 women, including stars such as Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Cara Delevingne. As this scandal continues to unfold, many people have rightfully voiced their outrage over the fact something like this was allowed to happen for so many years. 

But, as shocking as this whole scandal might seem, the bitter truth is that this is the reality of our nation. 1 out of every 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (RAINN). Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted (RAINN). These statistics could continue on for pages.

While it is hard to fully comprehend the magnitude of this problem, a tweet by celebrity Alyssa Milano has sparked a nationwide response, showing just how many people are affected by sexual assault and harassment. The tweet read, “If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet”.

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This tweet received a flood of responses, from people sharing their stories of sexual harassment and assault to simply writing “me too”. Within hours, the hashtag #MeToo flooded Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and various other forms of social media. Women, and men, from all over the nation were using this hashtag as a way to illustrate the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. People from all walks of life, with different professions, ages, sexualities, etc. were united on a common ground that they all had experienced sexual assault or harassment at some point in their life.

As the movement continued to grow over the course of a week, I watched my Facebook feed become filled with “Me Too” status updates as more and more women posted. Never once have I doubted or underestimated the magnitude of people affected by sexual assault or harassment (I strive every day to become more educated on the topic), but seeing women such as my aunt, friends, past teachers, and members of my hometown community posting “Me Too” was a powerful reminder for me about the severity of this problem.

In addition to demonstrating the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, the #MeToo campaign has another purpose; proving to other woman that they are not alone in this struggle. For every woman who posted, there are countless others who did not. #MeToo aims at providing support for those who feel helpless or isolated due to sexual assault or harassment, reassuring them that they are not to blame.

I think that this campaign is incredible. Seeing so many resilient, strong, and brave women coming together over social media to demonstrate how many people sexual assault and harassment affect every single day was truly inspiring, and it made me feel more empowered to bring awareness to this nationwide issue. For me, the first step in doing that is to say,

Me too.