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From one survivor to another: #Me Too

October 27, 2017

It was just like any other Sunday night. A Facebook page loaded slowly as I anticipated pictures of what the weekend’s events had held for some of my friends.

I expected smiling faces, selfies and breathtaking sunsets, but I was met by something rather different. #Metoo.

Two words that seemed to echo a larger message. At first one couldn’t derive what this message or sentiment was. Me too? What did these people share? Were we one of them?

The questions were answered as I investigated further and read accounts of my friends’ abuse. As I continued scrolling, I realized that my Bay Area friends were not alone in their vocalization of abuse.

Acquaintances across the Atlantic Ocean echoed their words.

CBS has since announced that the me too hashtag has been associated with at least 1.7 million tweets in at least 85 different countries so far.

#Metoo. It took a little more time to realize that these posts and responses were related to the now famous allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

According to CNN.com, the now famous hashtag on twitter was discovered by Alyssa Milano but originated by a woman named Tarana Burke.

Burke started the movement as a response to an interaction with a teenage girl, who confided her story of abuse in Burke.

“On one side, it’s a bold declarative statement that ‘I’m not ashamed’ and ‘I’m not alone.’ On the other side, it’s a statement from survivor to survivor that says ‘I see you, I hear you, I understand you and I’m here for you or I get it,” said Burke.

Milano took to twitter on Oct. 15 writing, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘MeToo.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

Men and women of all ethnicities have responded on multiple social media platforms highlighting the pervasive problem of sexual harassment and assault present in our society.

Unfortunately this issue in America is much greater than many of us would like to believe.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network stated that, “1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime” and “About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.”

It is true that some people have taken issue with the movement, claiming that it does not go far enough in revealing how widespread the issue of sexual assault is in our western society and across the world. If everyone who was ever harassed or assaulted, actually posted, our social media feeds would be full of more ‘#metoo’s.

Others have criticized the #metoo social media phenomenon because they felt as in Burke was not given enough recognition for founding them movement, whereas Milano has been praised for bringing it to light.

#Metoo has effectively personalized the issue of sexual assault and harassment in a way that no other form of communication could. For those who have never faced sexual assault or harassment first hand, they have been made aware of the fact that some of their connections have.

It causes others to have empathy with survivors and get an idea of the magnitude of the problem.

It allows us to think. To think about what we can do to prevent more suffering. The #MeToo movement is not just about retweets but a catalyst for a much wider conversation. It is important that we as students of Ohlone College assure that our behavior does not promote a culture of sexual harassment or assault.

According to RAINN, “Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault.”

College students are vulnerable to sexual assault. It is our duty to make sure that we support victims and make sure that everything we do is edifying to both men and women.

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