GRAPHIC BY BRENNA MUELLER | THE SPECTRUM
Twitter exploded with stories of sexual assault and harassment following the hashtag #MeToo to show support and outrage for the absurd number of women who experience sexual assault and harassment on a regular basis.
The goal behind the hashtag is to display the sheer magnitude of the problem at hand. The Me Too movement was started almost a decade ago by Tarana Burke. Alyssa Milano sparked a new wave of this movement on Sunday, Oct. 15 with a tweet tagging her own profile.
“Suggested by a friend: ‘If all women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too.’ As a status, we might give people some sense of the magnitude of the problem,” Milano wrote. “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
This lead to everyday actions of sexual assault to be brought to our attention. Not only are we a society that writes off rape in court with pay outs and victim blaming but in everyday life as well.
“I was see #MeToo for men. #MeToo every time you laugh off a work bro sexualizing a colleague. Me too every time you laugh at rape jokes,” Shakthi J began. “Every time you called a woman a slut. Every time you didn’t intervene when a friend took home an extremely drunk woman w/a look in his eyes.”
This tweet sparked a wave of responses in which mostly women express the severity of the problem and explain their own experiences.
“Just know that many of us are struggling to even narrow our history of sexual assault and harassment down to one experience #MeToo,” Abby Honold wrote.
It is important to understand how common this has become today. We often forget to connect the act with the one who committed it. Instead we speak about sexual assault and harassment in a passive voice and ignore the fact that it didn’t just happen, someone had to do it.
In a Twitter thread written by Shakthi J many points about how society deals with sexual violence are addressed and questioned. There is no way to express the severity of the problem without looking at the numbers.
By addressing the origin of this problem, we will be much more successful in solving it. Society has created a norm for sexual harassment and assault and by doing so, has buried something that causes an unimaginable amount of people both mental and physical pain.
It is extremely important to be aware of what you say, what you do and how you react. Without awareness, we will never begin to fix the problem. So with all of the #MeToo stories it is time to see that this is a problem for not only a select few, but a normal part of life for many people.