If you’ve been on a social media hiatus and are preparing to jump back into the cyber world, prepare yourself for an onslaught of statuses, tweets, and hashtag using the words “Me Too.” Thousands have taken on these two words as a means of standing in solidarity against sexual predators.
With the numerous Harvey Weinstein allegations, many people have come forward with their sexual assault and harassment stories and experiences via the hashtag “#MeToo.” Starting on Twitter, and spreading across many other platforms of social media, #MeToo has become a way for survivors of sexual assault and harassment to self-identify and spread awareness regarding the scale to which sexual violence occurs.
Though credited to Alyssa Milano, the campaign was actually started by Tarana Burke. Tarana Burke started the campaign back in 2007 to reach and connect survivors in underprivileged communities, letting them know they aren’t alone and are supported.
The Washington Post reports that following the Tweet by Milano on October 15, there were nearly a million uses of the phrase and hashtag. By Monday evening the hashtag had spread to Facebook and had been in over 12 million posts. These posts were made by men, women, and gender non-binary folks, detailing how rampant sexual abuse is and how it affects all people, not just women.
Although the hashtag has been wildly popular, it is important to note that while this has been helpful for some, as it provides a space to share their experiences, it also can be distressing for those who aren’t ready or elect to not share. It is critical that each person feel empowered to share or to maintain their privacy. Survivors who remain silent during this campaign, thank you. You serve as a reminder that no one owes the world a testimony or an explanation for their experiences.
In the midst of all of the turmoil and noise regarding sexual violence and abuse in the Hollywood arena, the survivors of sexual abuse that are coming together in order to promote awareness act as a beacon of hope. Beyond this, the hashtag highlights the severity and extent to which sexual harassment and assault occurs. It has also served as a prominent reminder that sexual violence does not discriminate. Sexual violence can affect anyone and everyone, regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, age, race, etc.
The #MeToo movement has created a space for a discussion about the toxicity of hyper-masculinity, sexual violence, and the desperate need for dramatic changes in the way we treat survivors in the judicial system.
Below are a few resources if you have been affected by sexual violence and would like to seek help.
24-Hour Rape Crisis Hotline through SAVA Center: 970-472-4200
Denver Police Department: Sex Offender Hotline: 720-913-6511