Written by Amy & Nathalie
Over the past couple of weeks, the #metoo movement took the internet, social media, print media, and television media by storm. In our latest YouTube video, we discuss our thoughts and feelings about the movement.
A Brief History of the #metoo Movement
Tarana Burke actually started the #metoo movement to bring awareness to the realities and magnitude of sexual abuse. A survivor herself, Tarana has spoken out about her experience and has encouraged other women to do the same in an effort to not only raise the awareness in society as a whole as a way to move toward change, but also to create a sense of community and comradery among women who have had sexual abuse experiences.
Since these experiences can be so violating, demeaning, and personal they can become so linked to feelings of self-blame and shame that women don’t reach out for help and don’t get the community-style healing that can be so important. Burke created a platform (the original #metoo movement) for women to do just that.
In the wake of women stepping forward about Harvey Weinstein in Hollywood, actress Alyssa Milano took to Twitter with the #metoo hashtag (which she did accredit to Burke) to give the budding movement a common tag to discuss their experiences and unite as a front. We aren’t so certain she expected it to take the social media world by such storm or that it would cause such debate.
As with any issue, criticisms over the movement are on the to rise. For instance a major argument that I’ve encountered is that by sharing their often violent #metoo stories, it’s normalizing the violence that is accompanied by sexual attacks. It brings the argument of people becoming accustom to it the way that violence on the news has become the norm.
Others love the #metoo movement though. They’re sharing their stories, making connections, and building communities for survivors to have support and so they won’t feel alone. It’s bringing something that is usually marked with guilt and shame, into the light to be seen for what it really is; involuntary trauma.
The biggest question that surrounds this is; is #metoo enough?
Why Saying #metoo Is Important
There are two tremendous reasons why saying #metoo is important.
When someone says #metoo, you’re inspiring somebody else who is affected to say it as well. This movement is illuminating the dark world that survivors are traveling through. From not knowing there are so many others affected to perhaps not realizing the full extent of what they experienced, sharing experiences and announcing #metoo empowers yourself and others. It’s creating a community and bringing people together to address an issue that’s long needed it.
The second reason it’s so important is to bring awareness to the statistics. Sexual assaults are rarely reported and once reported an offender is rarely committed for their crimes. The numbers that are gathered typically come from anonymous surveys. While this is done to get more accurate numbers, not everyone is still honest or reached. It’s also a statistic that isn’t heard too often.
With the spread of #metoo comes greater awareness for everyone.
Why We Need to Do More than Just Say #metoo
Trending hashtags come and go. Before sitting down to right this I checked our Twitter and #metoo isn’t even showing up anymore. While I’m sure that it’s still reaching hundreds of people everyday, the change that is demanded with this movement requires more than just a hashtag.
So is #metoo enough? The answer is no. While it brings the harsh reality of this issue to more people and it brings home the importance of this issue, more will need to be done if change is to be incited. As the hashtag begins to subside, this issue needs to remain at the forefront of people’s minds.
Next Steps in the #metoo Movement
To keep this movement going strong and ending the stigma behind sexual assault, people still need to share their stories. They need to spread awareness to the matter and to the terrifying statistics. This isn’t a new issue and it won’t just go away. As men are coming forward to participate in this issue that is generally regarded as a ‘feminine issue’, it helps open doors to moving towards a society where this is no longer an issue.
We offer some other suggestions in our recent video as well.