#MeToo is a movement that has dominated social media over the last year. Alyssa Milano, a well-known actress, tweeted the hashtag on October 15th, 2017 prompting other survivors of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment to also tweet the hashtag. Although this tweet brought the movement to the media’s attention, the movement actually began in 2006 by an activist named Tarana Burke.
Tarana Burke began the #MeToo movement in hopes that it would allow the world to see the reach of the problem. According to a New York Times article, Burke began this movement after a young girl shared her tragic story to Burke. She realized she didn’t know how to be a resource to someone who had experienced sexual violence. Almost ten years after having this conversation with the young woman, Tarana Burke started an organization called Just Be Inc, which is completely dedicated to helping other victims of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault. It also launched the #MeToo movement.
With celebrities like Alyssa Milano, Lady GaGa, Gabrielle Union and hundreds of others coming forward and sharing their stories using the hashtag, the movement spanned over 1.7 million tweets and 85 countries. The movement opened doors for individuals everywhere, from all different backgrounds, to share their stories. It also brought attention to rape culture and some of the stereotypes that surround being assaulted. For instance, Evan Rachel Wood tweeted out in support of the movement. The actress stated “Because I was shamed and considered a ‘party girl’ I felt I deserved it. I shouldn’t have been there. I shouldn’t have been bad. #metoo”
It is important to remember that abuse doesn’t discriminate. RAINN states that one out of every ten rape victims are male. Anthony Rapp brought awareness to this when he came forward and told his story, in which he states that Kevin Spacey attempted sexual advances towards him when he was younger.
According to the Office for Victims of Crime, one in two transgender individuals are victims of sexual abuse. This movement has showed that there is truly power in numbers and that no one is alone. The movement has sparked not only individuals sharing their stories but also action being taken against the abusers. Following the movement, individuals like Harvey Weinstein, Mark Schwan, Kevin Spacey and dozens of others were fired from various projects after being accused of sexual misconduct.
The #MeToo movement is one that has inspired change and empowered individuals to take control over their stories. Halsey, a singer and song-writer, gave a heart-breaking and powerful speech at the 2018 Womans’ March in New York City. She recited a poem that she wrote titled “A Story Like Mine” in which she recounts her experiences with abuse and how they have shaped her. An excerpt from the poem reads, “It’s 2002 and my family just moved and the only people I know are my mom’s friends, too, and her son, He’s got a case of Matchbox cars and he says that he’ll teach me to play the guitar if I just keep quiet, And the stairwell beside apartment 1245 will haunt me in my sleep for as long as I am alive,And I’m too young to know why it aches in my thighs, but I must lie, I must lie.” The full poem can be found here.