#MeToo Movement

 

If you’ve been on social media at all in the past week or two, you’ve probably seen the hashtag #MeToo. The hashtag rose to “trending” status following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, but it means much more than that.

The Me Too movement began in 1999 when activist  Tarana Burke was a youth camp director. A young girl at the camp asked to speak to her privately and told her a horrific story. Tarana told the encounter like this to the Just Be website, “For the next several minutes this child ... struggled to tell me about her 'stepdaddy,' or rather her mother's boyfriend, who was doing all sorts of monstrous things to her developing body. ... I was horrified by her words, the emotions welling inside of me ran the gamut, and I listened until I literally could not take it anymore ...”

Burke’s movement became something to empower young women of color who had survived sexual assault, abuse and exploitation. It then grew to so much more. First young children and teens began using it, and soon enough adults had used it to spread awareness. Actress Alyssa Milano first used the hashtag on October 15th following the Day of Silence, which happened on October 13th on twitter.

This hashtag, and many more movements, developed following the sexual assault reports brought against producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein and now many more men in the film industry have had sexual assault allegations brought against them in the past few weeks. This is one of the first times that sexual abuse and assault has been so openly talked about in the film industry.

Men have responded to the movement with hashtags such as #IHave, #ItWasMe and many others.  Not only women, but many men have stepped forward and reported sexual assault as well. There is a stigma against men speaking out and this hashtag gives them an outlet to do so.

#MeToo shows no sign of slowing, so speak out and speak up.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault and are looking for help, speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.