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#MeToo: Dealing With Sexual Violence

TW: Sexual Assault

I saw an article on Facebook the other day titled “Every Woman Knows a Weinstein.” And it’s true. I know a Weinstein, I know Weinsteins, I know the whole Weinstein family tree.

We’re seeing just how much of an impact actions like Harvey Weinstein’s have on the women of the world. Actress Alyssa Milano’s tweet helped start the #MeToo campaign to see just how many women are affected by sexual violence:

The idea for this campaign was originally conceived of by a woman named Tarana Burke nearly ten years ago. As of October 19, Milano’s tweet alone has over 24,000 retweets and over 51,000 likes. I’ve seen people I don’t even know, acquaintances, celebrities, coworkers, friends, close friends and family saying #MeToo.

Me too.

I would’ve said “me too” when I was 14 and would walk home from school. I would get called sexy by men driving by in cars. I would get called sexy by men walking on the street.

I would’ve said “me too” when I was 17 and did a presentation on sexual harassment in my religion class. In doing this presentation, I got criticized by boys who wore Meninist shirts and joked about hitting girls. I asked every boy in the class to raise their hand if they’d been catcalled on the street. No one raised their hand. I asked every girl in the class to raise their hand if they’d been catcalled on the street. Everyone raised their hand, my teacher too.

I would’ve said “me too” when I was 19 and sexually assaulted on my birthday.

I know I don’t owe anyone my story. The women of the world do not owe anyone their story. Just because you don’t quote Milano’s tweet with #MeToo, doesn’t mean you don’t have a story. You shouldn’t feel obligated to broadcast your narrative just because of a hashtag. In fact, I hadn’teven posted about this campaign until this article.

I can say with certainty, the majority of women have encountered sexual violence in some form or another. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Sexual violence against women has always existed. The fact of the matter is, women are now feeling comfortable enough to utter those words and tell their stories. I wouldn’t have referenced my assault, if not for this campaign. But I’m working on myself and my traumas, day by day.

Different women are at different points with their stories. Some women may be triggered by the mere mention of those two words and some women may be secure enough to share their narrative in detail. There’s no black and white when it comes to sexual violence.

There’s a problem in the world and it hasn’t been solved. But saying #MeToo might just be a start.

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Shauna Ruby Valchuk is HCW's 2019-20 Editor-in-Chief. She's in her fifth year studying Creative Writing, English, Language and Literature. Currently, she is working on her creative non-fiction thesis. She writes in her off days and publishes it on her on days and hopes to one day make money doing the stuff she loves surrounded by as many cats as legally allowed. 
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