#Metoo

The inside out of the viral trend on social media

Actress Rose Mcgowan (claim to fame from Charmed), boldly went where many would dare not, exposing Harvey Weinstein and the sexual harassment charges against him. Her Twitter account was blocked at one point, though it was quickly restored. Other actresses who had her back like Alyssa Milano became prominent figures in this movement against sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is a topic that surfaces one too often on social media. Each time it does, it serves as an indicator of the large unawareness, ignorance and injustice that seems to be thriving in the world today. The #Metoo trend that started circulating via Twitter and then went on to also invade almost every news feed on Instagram and Facebook is one that opened up a huge can of worms.

Shortly after the trend started circulating, women began to share their stories of sexual harassment openly only gaining more force as hundreds of other women joined the call to arms. Among those who got the ball rolling were Anna Paquin – actress, Lady Gaga – musician, Katie Couric – Journalist, Sheryl Sandberg – COO Facebook and McKayla Maroney – Olympic gymnast. According to hashtagify, the stats for the trend are as follows;

#Metoo hashtag populairty

The controversy

The ‘Me Too’ was not a hashtag when it was started 11 years ago. It was a movement that provided a voice and a safe space for victims of sexual harassment; especially young girls of colour.

The movement was started by Tarana Burke, who watched as the #Metoo hashtag caught fire and feared that her work would be overshadowed.

As she set off on Twitter to direct people to the origins of the movement, actress Alyssa Milano was was initially credited for starting the movement, also directed users to read about the history of the movement and identify Tarana who worked hard for years, even though her work was not much publicized and little known beyond the communities that it worked with regularly.

The movement started when Ms. Burke was working at a youth camp where ‘Heaven’ a 13 year old girl approached her to speak of the sexual violence she had endured in private. Instead of being able to find solutions to the girl’s issues, she turned her away to another counselor who could help her better. Tarana says that as she watched the girl walk away feeling embarrassed for having being rejected, she had one question that haunted here; “why Couldn’t I just say me too?” So began the movement that would become a guiding light and a lifeline to many who had been traumatized.

The aftermath

The #Metoo movement is quite certainly here to stay. The aftermath of this revolutionary, global standing against sexual harassment joined by countless women and some men, means that the perpetrators would now not be able to enjoy the silence of the victim that would usually follow the crime a month ago. Women and men alike are now more prepared to speak out, albeit not wanting to directly identify their wrongdoer

On the same note, women may feel more ‘insecure’ about using dating sites and the likes having had a home page full of sexual assault stories as this one blogger speculates, and for the most part she hits the nail on the head.

One thing is for sure though. Hashtag or not, victims of sexual abuse have had very little say or none at all, in how they are given justice after their horror story and that, certainly needs to change. People do need to speak up.

Sexual harassment and assault is not acceptable.

Not in word.

Not in action.

 

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