The Me Too Movement and Me...and Possibly You
17, 700,000 women have reported sexual assault since 1998
The Me Too Movement is an international movement against sexual harassment and assault. Starting in October of 2017 #MeToo spread virally on social media to help attest to the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. A wave of accusations arose soon after the public revelations of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood executive.
In 2006 Tarana Burke, a social activist and community organizer, began using the phrase "Me Too". The phrase was made popular by Alyssa Milano in 2017 when she encouraged women to tweet about it and "give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem". Responses on Twitter included high-profile posts from celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence and Uma Thurman. Since then the response has mushroomed.
The problem is an old one. Women have always been sexually harassed, assaulted and raped. Often through out history women had no way to combat it. Men are generally physically stronger. Women who experienced these issues were in fact often blamed for causing the problems.
Why did women not report the issues? Because people often did not believe them. One of my cousins, as I was growing up, was raped at the age of fourteen. The majority of my family did not believe her. They called her promiscuous. When my first husband was on jury duty I sat in on a rape trial with him. I was twenty. As we watched the proceedings, the court system painted the woman as wanton and demonized her in a number of ways. At the time my husband said that a woman could not be raped.
So a couple of years later when a guy I thought was a friend raped me I knew if I told the police three things would happen. First, my marriage would breakup, and at the time I did not earn enough money to afford an alternate place to live. Second, the court system would do to me what they did to that poor woman I watched on the stand. They left her in tatters. Third, most of my family would call me a whore. It was the early seventies, and women were still seen as men's property or playthings. Dan, the guy who raped me, planned it very carefully. He was one of my coworkers at the school district where I worked as a clerk. He was a 330 lb. weightlifter and 6'3" tall. I weighed 110 lbs and was 5'3". I will spare you the details, but he was way stronger than I was. Afterward he wondered why I was upset and why "I" had ended our "friendship".
The events of recent years with all the women coming forward to state what happened to them at the hands of those with power over them, has given support to others, who now don't feel so alone. But often these women are still not believed. These types of crimes against women reach into the highest offices in the U.S. At present the president, who has been charged numerous times with sexual assaults against women, has nominated a man for a Supreme Court Justice who has recently been credibly accused of attempted rape when he was in high school. We'll see if the republican party sweeps this one under the rug as well. Unfortunately, people often still believe these men instead of their victims.
Even on social media sites it happens. Unwanted sexual harassment in the form of a man telling a woman in crude detail what he's doing to himself, while he looks at her picture, recently happened on another site I was on. It happened to me. I had already made it clear on that site, over and over in all kinds of ways, including on my profile page, that I was not interested. Several guys tried to lure me into it. At this age, for crying out loud. I'm in my upper sixties. He said I should feel honored. In a pig's eye.
What I should have done was report his private message to the administrators and tell them where to find it. They would have taken appropriate action, but they needed evidence to do so. What he did took me so by surprise and so angered me, that I wrote my response to him, deleted what he had said, because it was so disgusting and told him to stop. I unfriended him and told the other women I knew on that site to be wary of him. Several of them got back to me saying it had happened to them as well. They told me who had harassed them. A number of them stopped using the site. I did too for a number of reasons.
I'm asking you to stand with me on this issue. We need to stop this, here and now. No still means no.
To join The Me Too Movement go to https://metoomvmt.org/
They have a list of resources.