If you exist in an online capacity in any way, you may have noticed this tweet over the past few weeks. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, that #MeToo has been trending across social media.
#MeToo was founded by activist Tarana Burke, as a bid to help those individuals affected by sexual abuse. On the October 15, American actress and activist Alyssa Milano bought widespread awareness to this campaign when she sent out the following tweet:
Since then, over 1.7 million tweets from 85 countries have been shared to show the magnitude of sexual abuse, harassment and assault in our world.
Countless celebrities have also joined; including Lady Gaga, Evan Rachael Wood, Voila Davis and Sheryl Crow.
The tweet were not exclusive to females. Star of Broadway smash Hamilton, Javier Munoz joined the stream of men sharing their stories of sexual assault.
Like many, I began reading these tweets with a great sadness. I thought, “Well, I’ve suffered a bit of catcalling, the occasional unwanted grope but thank god that I have never had to deal with being raped or attacked”.
Then I started to see my friends and family tweet #MeToo. That’s including my brother’s girlfriend and a friend from school.
Definition of sexual abuse and sexual assault:
‘a statutory offense that provides that it is a crime to knowingly cause another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force of threat’.
Definition of sexual harassment:
‘Harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks’.
Then, I got to think about all the occasions where I have encountered sexual harassment and shrugged it off.
The more I thought about my experiences and spoke to friends about shared encounters of sexual harassment; the more I decided that no incidence of sexual harassment/abuse/assault should be ignored.
While many of the #MeToo tweets came from women, we mustn’t ignore the experiences of men which often go unheard.
This inspiring and courageous campaign highlights the enormity of the problem of sexual harassment and assault. I urge anyone affected by the issues raised in this article to speak out to somebody they trust. I also urge you to encourage and challenge those who are scared to speak out of sexual harassment, to finally have their voice heard.
Only through challenging the social dialogue around sexual crimes can we hope to make a change.
Sign and support
I urge all readers to sign the Canterbury Christ Church Expect Respect pledge HERE. There you can also find pages for support and more advice on how to combat harassment.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article you can contact your local police department at 999 or 101, student support health and wellbeing (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) or the chaplaincy (firstname.lastname@example.org) for confidential support and care.