Me too. Two words so small, yet they signify something so big. I must have typed the words ten times and deleted them. I could feel their weight bearing on my soul, not wanting to mentally relive moments I’d worked years to keep from clouding my thoughts. I shunned the whole thing, tried to shake off my uneasiness, and kept checking my social media feeds as if none of that ever happened.
Then, as I scrolled, I read a post and thought me too. Another post, same response. And another post. Soon, I was typing once again. This time I pushed send.
The Rise Of The “Me Too” Movement
Activist Tarana Burke says she started the “Me Too” campaign back in 2007, long before hashtags. However, the campaign turned into a social media movement earlier this month after actress Alyssa Milano wrote a Twitter post asking followers to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault using the phrase.
Hundreds of thousands of people answered Milano’s social media call just like I did. Some shared their “Me Too” stories—offering a look at how traumatic that type of harassment or assault can be. Others simply typed the phrase or quietly slipped it into the comments section of other “Me Too” posts.
Men Tweet Plans To Change
Although the “Me too” campaign helped me connect with other victims, it also opened the door for all of us to the receive acknowledgment and support any victim needs. And thanks to a hashtag created by Australian journalist and screenwriter Benjamin Law, I’ve seen men from all over the world tweeting what they would do to change the existing cultures of sexual harassment and violence.
Some posts mentioned listening to victims and speaking up when they witness sexual harassment or assault, while others like actor Mark Ruffalo vowed to stop certain behaviors like catcalling.
Statistics show that one in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. And in many instances, the cases don’t get reported to police or–when they do–the perpetrator won’t get prison time. But many people don’t know that.
People have to become aware of a problem before they can try to fix it. And the “Me too” campaign brought some much needed awareness to the sex assault and harassment issue. Because of that, I cling to a hope that those who now know better will do better and that things will eventually change. I see the #HowIWillChange effort as a first step in that direction. And these days, it’s making me even more hopeful about the future.