By: Alexis Mitchell
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @alexismitch14
I don’t think when Tarana Burke started the “#MeToo” trend that she realized just how far it would spread. “Me Too” was intended to help women who have been sexually assaulted not feel alone, but feel more empowered by coming together on social media.
Although many know the saying “Me Too” through recently being used as a hashtag, it was started back in 2006 on a myspace page made by Tarana Burke. The “Me too” movement grew even larger than Burk imagined, and now millions of people all over social media are using #MeToo as a way to express to other woman that they are not alone.
Rachel Goldsmith, associate vice president for the Domestic Violence Shelter Programs at Safe Horizon says, “Using the simple hashtag gives people an opportunity to share their experiences without disclosing all the details of what happened to them, which can be empowering for some people”.
If there is anything I fully support, it is the unity and empowerment of women. Especially in today’s society when it is considered normal for women to be judged on their appearance and values. Not to mention, the measures taken to protect ourselves when doing any practical task. Good examples of this are not walking alone, especially at night, worrying about being followed, and just being harassed by whistles or cat calls while trying to get a cup of coffee or lunch.
I think the #MeToo movement has allowed women from all over the world to share their stories and not feel so alone. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to talk about something horrible that’s been done to you.
One concern I have seen with #MeToo, is that people feel uncomfortable by women’s stories being “too graphic” or “too personal”.
“It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve experienced sexual assault or harassment, especially if that person is a friend or loved one,” says Sara McGovern, a spokesperson for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network through Safe Horizon.
The point of this hashtag is not to make anyone uncomfortable, but to give these women a sense of unity and empowerment through all the pain they have endured. These stories are real, and even though some people may want to turn their heads and act like sexual assault doesn’t happen, it does, every day.
This is something that needs to be talked about and, more importantly, people need to feel like they have a safe place to do so. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, the University of Findlay has a great team at Counseling Services available to listen and help.