Scrolling through Facebook statuses these days inevitably means coming across someone, mostly women, using the hashtag #MeToo. They are sharing stories of moments in their lives when they feel they were sexually harassed or assaulted.
The movement was started a decade ago by activist Tarana Burke, but actor Alyssa Milano turned it into a burgeoning Twitter trend.
In the wake of the long list of women accusing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, Milano posted these words, “suggested by a friend”: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
Since then, millions have used #MeToo to share stories of harassment and sexual assault. This movement is crucial in making people in various industries realize what is okay and what is not. Now I wonder how this movement could change the ways we treat one another.
I have never felt so helpless as I have reading posts by some of my closest friends detailing an experience they are probably trying to forget. I am so grateful that this movement made so many feel they are not alone and gave them the courage to speak out about an issue that is more common than many may have thought.
The widespread hashtag has created a feeling of unity among women who have experienced any kind of sexual abuse. It made me feel I was not alone, and gave me the strength and support to use the hashtag myself.
Progress is often slow. But I hope this movement makes swift changes in how people are treated, and in people’s willingness to come forward when they have not been treated properly.