Tarana Burke discusses new survivor support tools at recent #MeToo talk

Growth of #MeToo has allowed Burke to focus on offering a multitude of resources for those in need

Tarana Burke
Fabienne Colas (left) led a discussion with #MeToo founder Tarana Burke (right) at the Toronto Black Film Festival on Feb. 16. Ellyse McGarr/Toronto Observer

Tarana Burke, founder of #MeToo, recently announced the development of new online tools to support survivors of sexual assault — and at least one is being built in Toronto.

One in particular will suggest resources based on the healing experiences of other survivors.

“(With) lots of prayer and good fortune we’ll be able to roll that out by the end of the year,” said Burke, 46.

The Bronx native spoke at the Toronto Black Film Festival on Feb. 16. She she touched on financial barriers, prioritizing survivors, and the expansion of #MeToo’s support tools.

Reflecting back on the early days of the movement, Burke noted that funding wasn’t something that came easily.

“I used to call it the paycheck-to-paycheck movement,” Burke said.

For Toronto non-profit organization Women at the Centre, which prioritizes survivor experience in the goal to end violence against women, lack of funding is the current reality.

“We’ve found that getting funding for the work that we do has been an impossible task, and yet the individuals that get the funding are these organizations that (don’t have survivors to inform their work),” said executive director Nneka MacGregor.

MacGregor sought advice from Burke on how to approach the situation. Burke encouraged her to continue putting survivors first above all else.

“My vision for a way forward has to be survivor-centered and it has to be from the ground up,” Burke said.

Following this statement, Burke announced new developments underway on the #MeToo website that aim to offer support to survivors in diverse ways.

“We’re working with this woman who built a tool that allows people to perform self-assessment,” she said. “You build a profile and then you get to compare your profile with other survivors.”

Although based in the U.S., Burke mentioned #MeToo’s new Canadian partnership.

“FCB, an advertising firm in Toronto, are building this tool that allows people to figure out how to get active in (the movement),” she said. “We want people to know that you can do the smallest thing to the biggest thing, that there are campaigns you can join.”

Burke concluded the evening by expressing pride in #MeToo and its growth as a dynamic support system.

“The database we’re building is, I’m going to claim it right now, the largest non-traditional database for resources for survivors,” she said.

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Posted: Feb 17 2019 4:56 pm
Filed under: Arts & Life