Almost all women have had personal stories of sexual harassment and/or assault – and that’s saddening to even say.
Most of the time it is unspoken and unheard of, like it’s something to shameful and not worth acknowledging or even because of fear for their safety and mental health.
TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT & RAPE
1. How it started
Actress and singer, Alyssa Milano used her Twitter account to encourage women who’d been sexually harassed or assaulted to tweet the words ‘me too’ and not long after, the #MeToo hashtag had been tweeted nearly half a million times.
With people accusing well-known personalities like Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, Jimmy Savile, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey as well as recently, Larry Nassar, the world is only starting to get a sense of the magnitude of the problem. The hashtag really opened our eyes to see that it is such a disgusting norm in today’s society that some might not even bat an eye.
It is for victims and survivors to know that they have a voice and that they are not alone. Currently still trending on social media, it is to raise awareness to the reality as well as the severity of sexual harassment and assault and how terrifyingly common it is.
2. It’s not just on Twitter
Some shared their stories – boiling it down to every single detail that went on and to also encourage others that they are not alone. Some simply posted the hashtag to add their voices.
On Facebook, women of all ages started to come forward with their experiences.
3. It’s not just women
Men started to speak up about their experiences too. It’s rare for men to come out saying they have been sexually harassed or assaulted – but you’d be surprised at the staggering number of victims that have come forward, accusing many well-known men and women of this despicable act.
For every person that is brave enough to share their experience, there were like just as many that chose not to.
4. It’s not just trending in America
In Malaysia, people have taken it to social media to share their stories with the hashtag. These brave souls are mostly all very young – most not even 20 years old yet. And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.
With the rising reports of rape, sexual harassment in the office, streets and school as well as sexual assault, organizations have taken it into their own hands to stop and prevent this – educating young people on the importance of consent and regarding sex education.
5. The backlash
Victims are the first to blame – what they wear, where they were and who they were with, apparently all ‘play a role’ in whether they are prone to sexual assault or not.
There is also a very idiotic excuse on why men sexually harass or assault; ‘it’s just the way men are’. Generations after generations, this excuse has been brought up whenever a victim wants to come forward. In today’s society, women (and even woke men) are more empowered than ever before – standing up for themselves and not giving men that excuse.
Instead of teaching our daughters and sons to dress conservatively and to act a certain way, it’s better to teach them to NOT rape or sexually harass.
Celebrities have taken it a step further to dress in all black in support of the #MeToo movement at the 2018 Golden Globes – using their fashion as a tool for the protest. Time’s Up pins were also a highly-worn accessory among the celebrities.
7. What we can take away from the movement
No matter gender, race, sexual orientation or religion – sexual harassment and assault happens to too many people, way too often. This bring light to an issue that was always forced to be kept in the shadows. It encourages people to speak up and bring their abusers to justice. It raises awareness of this disgusting act and how often this happens.
The fact of the matter is that there are more people who have not and would not come forward as it is uncomfortable for them.
Social and cultural norms are being challenged and people everywhere are taking a stand.
Sexual harassment and assault should not be tolerated. Even if it seems too hard, the best thing to do is to report it or tell someone close to you. #MeToo
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