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#MeToo gives platform to victims of sexual assault

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Following accusations against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, many other actresses, public figures and even everyday individuals have taken the opportunity to speak out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. This has recently culminated in the social media movement called “#MeToo” in which survivors of sexual harassment or sexual assault post “me too” to their status, illustrating solidarity with other survivors while also serving as a representation of  the sheer magnitude of the situation. The tag has garnered a few different reactions from the public which are worth exploring within the following text as we ask ourselves, is this a necessary movement?

One reaction from the populace has been the obvious growth of the tag. As people find out about it and what it means, many people are taking it as an opportunity to show their own survival and spark a conversation. Many men have been noted as commenting on how shocked they are at the number of people who have reported experiences of sexual harassment and assault, which has garnered criticism from many women given this is hardly the first time the conversation has been had. If not for so many people speaking out at once, rather, it would likely be swept under the rug, as is often the case with sexual assault.

In fact, 99.4% of rapists go free, in case you need a clearer statistic on how badly it is handled within the United States. This is where the vastness of the tag is efficient. As individuals, victims are often asked what they were doing, what they were wearing or what they might have done to provoke being attacked. However, it’s harder to ask that of a crowd of people who share similar experiences, especially when the crowd is so large, because it forces people to instead consider the actions of the perpetrators.

In that respect, I think the movement is largely effective. Not only does it force the public to come to terms with just how many people are survivors, but it also protects the individuals that speak out by allowing them to be seen as a group, not simply an individual that could be shamed by their victimhood. For that, I think it’s important to say that everyone posting “me too” is incredibly brave for doing so, and contributing to a conversation that America dearly needs to have.

It is not an easy conversation for anyone, but survivors especially have to deal with the weight and stigma of it, unfair as it may be. That being said, not everyone has chosen to speak out, and I think that is fair as well. No one is entitled to the trauma of others, and while I appreciate those who have come forward in solidarity, I respect those who choose to keep their experiences private. Not everyone is comfortable having their experience become public knowledge, and that’s perfectly okay.

As for myself, well, me too. I am one of many. I’m thankful for the movement, even if the circumstances are unfortunate. We have to talk about sexual assault. It’s not a fun conversation; no one really wants to be having it, but perhaps that’s why we need to be having it.

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#MeToo gives platform to victims of sexual assault