For the past couple of days, the #MeToo hashtag has cropped up in timelines and newsfeeds everywhere. Suddenly, all you see is people who post #MeToo as a status. Some even went as far as telling their personal stories of their attacks.
The premise is to make people aware of just how common sexual assault and to grasp the magnitude of the problem. And judging by the amount of people who posted the status, the problem is bigger than anyone could have ever imagined.
This movement started on Saturday night, when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted: “Suggested by a friend: If all of 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.” She then went onto say that: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Several have responded to it — both men and women. Some of the famous names include Will and Grace star Debra Messing, and Reese Witherspoon.
This comes after news However, according to a CNN article entitled “#MeToo: Social Media Flooded With Personal Stories of Assault,” Milano stated “sexual harassment and assault are not just about Harvey Weinstein.” She then went onto state that “we must do better for women everywhere.”
With that being said, it takes a huge amount of bravery to go to a public forum (like social media), to proclaim the fact that something like that has happened to you. Assault is a personal thing, and to be able to be open about it and share it is a wonderful thing. I firmly believe that by sharing those stories — whether they may be of rape, harassment or even cat-calling on the streets — brings us closer to a world of justice and a world free of predators.
However, there’s a number of women that did not post their stories for a number of reasons. One may be because they don’t feel comfortable sharing their experiences publicly. Others may have trouble talking about the experience, because it brings back memories of the traumatic experience.
And, not talking is perfectly okay too.
At the end of the day, it’s their story and their choice. When someone is assaulted, their choice is taken away. Therefore, it’s important to respect their decisions to share and not to share their experiences.
In either scenario, please remember the magnitude of this problem, and work to serve to find a solution. Educate both men and women about the importance of consensual sex — and the importance of raising their voice upon the instance of wrongdoing. Let’s use these voices — whether they spoke up or did not — as our motivation to live in a world that aspires for less sexual assaults.