If you spend enough time with me, you know that I think that technology is taking over the world. You also know that I have spent too much time analyzing Netflix’s show Black Mirror. Although I could write a whole article on why social media is destroying our lives, I decided to change it up: I want to talk about how it can lead a powerful movement: #MeToo.
This week, actress Alyssa Milano, best known for her roles in “Who’s the Boss?,” “Melrose Place,” and “Charmed,” to name a few, Tweeted out “Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Milano has accused Harvey Weinstein of coming out of the hotel bathroom in a robe and asking her for a massage, and then told her that he would only sign her contract if she had a threesome with him and another man. He also made her watch him commit sexual acts, and all of those actions are “how a woman can make it in the business.” The Tweet went out at 4:21 pm Sunday afternoon and has since gone viral.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2013 only 34.8% of people report their rape or sexual assault. I do not have evidence to back this up, but my guess on why this number is so low is because women and men do not want to discuss a violent, yet humiliating crime, when the justice system is already rooting for the other guy; in the “innocent until proven guilty” system that our country follows. Do not misunderstand me; the assumption of innocence is a crucial part of the government and is beneficial in many ways, but it can feel like an uphill battle for sexual assault survivors.
So, why is #Metoo so important? Because in a society in which people do not talk about sexual harassment and assaults, survivors can feel incredibly alone. It seems backwards to me, that survivors have done nothing wrong, yet they are the ones who feel guilt, shame, and embarrassment. Let me say that again: people who are survivors of someone else’s crime feel guilty. That is ridiculous. That is like a woman walking down the street, having her phone stolen and people telling her, “Next time, do not walk down the street.”
Sexual assault is a crisis in this country, and we know that just based on the men and women who report it. #Metoo allows survivors to feel a little less alone, without people having to share the worst night of their lives.