On Twitter, a very popular new hashtag arose that carries a deeply impactful purpose. #MeToo has reportedly been tweeted more than 1.2 million times on Twitter. It has gained huge popularity after there were sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. People from all over the world took the opportunity to share their experiences with sexual harassment and sexual assault. In my opinion, the #MeToo movement was a huge step in the right direction to bringing awareness and change to the issue of sexual harassment and abuse.
#MeToo brought a big, ugly issue into the spotlight, and it raised many other concerns. One being that because of the sensitivity of the subject, many women and men who have been victims of sexual harassment/assault are not comfortable or not able to come forth about their experiences. Taking this into account, it can be said that the amount of people who are victims of this issue is much larger than can be seen through a hashtag alone. “Generally studies say one in four women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and one in ten men, and those numbers definitely underestimate the problem, considering the hesitation by many to report sexual assault,” said Sarah Lowe, trauma researcher at Montclair State University in New Jersey, according to CNN.
Another concern is where our focus should be directed in response to this movement. According to CNN, Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Association of Women said, “I am really tired of talking about women… [W]e must focus on the men. We must be demanding that the men step forward and take responsibility, whether they think they are the good guy or not. They are not the good guy if they are not speaking out against this.”
In addition, the #MeToo movement has received criticism for triggering trauma in some who have been victims in the past. For some, because #MeToo is such a large movement, their past may seem inescapable.
I think that despite the concerns that have come forth since this movement started, it is something that society as a whole needed direly. In a time in which victims’ voices are being silenced and perpetrators are getting off with a slap on the hand for such intolerable acts, we cannot suppress a movement like this. #MeToo brought awareness to the serious widespread issue of sexual harassment and abuse, and going into the future, I hope that #MeToo will be able to go past the online world and cause greater social change on the global scale.
Kaylee Kirkwood, Editor in Chief