“Me Too” Movement

Mariah Holston, Staff Writer

The “Me Too” Movement focuses on the victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The victims share their stories in hopes to show how common sexual harassment and sexual assault are. The movement’s goal is to decrease the number of victims who experience sexual violence. The Me Too movement welcomes all victims to share their stories. The movement specifically highlights sexual harassment and sexual assault. What is the difference between the two? The definitions of the two are different depending on what state you are in, but there is a general definition for all people. Both are considered non-consensual sexual acts. Sexual harassment takes place at work or school. Sexual harassment also is protected by Equal Opportunity Laws. Sexual assault entails physical contact and can take place in any location. These acts occur frequently to people all over.

According to RAINN, “The majority of sexual assault victims are younger people, with 54% of victims falling between 18 and 34 years of age. Women and young girls are the most frequent victims of sexual violence; 82% of all juvenile victims of sexual assault are female, while 90% of adult rape victims are female. Although men are less likely to suffer from sexual violence, millions of men have still been victims of sexual assault. As of 1998, 2.78 million American men were victims of rape or attempted rape.” The movement is heavily represented on social media platforms and can be identified as #MeToo. Tarana Burke founded the movement in 2006; however, it did not gain popularity until late 2017. The hashtag became popular after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted about her own sexual assault experience. Alyssa Milano’s popular tweet accused producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. After further investigation, Weinstein was arrested. His arrest greatly affected the Me Too movement. BBC News states, “‘Harvey Weinstein is a symbolic case. To see a high profile, rich white man be convicted of a crime, in general, is always astonishing,” Tarana tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

What Tarana sees as a victory for Me Too is helping people not blame themselves for sexual violence committed against them and lead fuller lives. “‘What we need to be talking about is the everyday woman, man, trans person, child, and disabled person. All the people who are not rich, white, and famous, dealing with sexual violence on an everyday basis. We need to talk about the systems that are still in place that allow that to happen.’” Burke wants to use the movement to bring awareness to the victims, as well as the severity of this sexual violence. The movement explains that the victim is never at fault, despite how someone dresses, walks, talks, etc. The perpetrator is always at fault. The victim never asks to be harassed or assaulted. Online Maryland University states, “There are things everybody can do to help prevent sexual harassment. Employers should focus on adopting clear sexual harassment policies, identifying inappropriate behaviors, and giving employees the tools they need to report instances of sexual harassment in the workplace — confidentially, if necessary, to mitigate the possibility of retaliation.” The Me Too movement plans to continue to support victims and teach people how to prevent this sexual violence.