#MeToo: A Voice for the Voiceless
April 25, 2018
In the past 20 years, 17,700,000 women have reported sexual assault. The height of this number is truly upsetting, especially considering that there are undoubtedly even more women who have endured such violence but have not been able to speak up. After all of the injustice, Civil Rights Activist Tarana Burke created the ‘Me Too’ movement, a campaign which would eventually empower women from all walks of life to stand up against sexual violence.
According to the official website’s description, the “Me too” movement was ultimately created to ensure survivors know they’re not alone in their journey.” Although the movement supports all women, it specifically makes an effort to include women from low-income communities and women of color who are often overlooked by the mainstream media. The campaign uses the principle of “empowerment through empathy” to send survivors on a path to healing.
A Growing Movement
Although Burke’s fight to end sexual violence began in 2006, it began receiving more attention after ‘Charmed’ actress Alyssa Milano tweeted in October of 2017 asking all victims of sexual assault to respond to her tweet with the words “#me too.” According to The Associated Press, the hashtag had been shared over 12 million times within the first 24 hours of Milano’s tweet.
After the response Milano received, she was quoted in an interview with ABC Good Morning America host Robin Roberts stating that “What the Me Too campaign really does, and what Tarana Burke has really enabled us to do, is put the focus back on the victims.”
At the end of 2017, TIME Magazine named the “Silence Breakers,” people who spoke out against sexual violence as a part of the me too movement, their annual Person of the Year. This group consists of actress Rose McGowan, pop star Taylor Swift, lobbyist Adama Iwu, actor Terry Crews, Tarana Burke herself, and many more.
Following the announcement of Person of the Year, Tarana Burke responded calling for more steps of action. Burke encouraged us all to ask the question, “When you hear #MeToo, will you stand up to say #NoMore?”
While the recent media exposure has put us all in the right direction towards ending the still very prominent issue of sexual violence, with a President who openly makes jokes about sexual assault and who is known for his poor treatment of women, when will we finally be able to say #NoMore?
Now more than ever, women and men alike must continue to support each other so that we can win the fight against sexual violence. We cannot allow speaking out against assault to become a forgotten crusade. Saying #MeToo has became a declaration of power for those who were made to feel powerless, and we cannot allow the battle we are fighting to end until we have created a society where all humans are entitled to the respect, support, and voice that they deserve.
As spoken by Tarana Burke, “Let’s get to work.”