Coming forward: Using #MeToo to raise awareness

News, World News

Sexual assault is something that no one really likes to talk about, but it’s something that people need to talk about.

Following the Harvey Weinstein case, Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano, known largely for her roles in “Charmed” and “My Name is Earl,” tweeted asking her followers to respond with “me too” if they have been sexually harassed or assaulted.

The results were astounding.

According to Crimson Hexagon, a data analytics company, the hashtag was used 109,451 times on Sunday alone. The movement quickly took over both Facebook and Twitter.

Social media is being blown up not only with women speaking of their experiences, but also with men speaking up for the women who have suffered.

While most participants are not sharing details, the idea of the movement is what’s important. It’s showing the magnitude of the problem – how many women have failed to share their story until now for fear of not being believed, or even fear of repeat violence or harassment.

Sarah Fryman, senior, participated in the movement on Facebook.

“I hope it helps demonize our culture of objectification,” Fryman said. “We do not see people as people; we see them as things that give us pleasure.”

The hashtag #MeToo has not only expressed the extent of the problem at hand, but has also worked to bring both victims and supporters together in an attempt to create unity among people.

“I hope more people feel comfortable to come forward and say that they have been affected by sexual assault . . . and that more light will be brought to this topic,” Gracie Pesicka, senior, said.

Some women, however, do not support the hashtag. Mayim Bialik, who stars In “The Big Bang Theory,” believes that women should be dressing more modestly so as not to be sexually assaulted or harassed. Her comments on the issue have not gone over well.

Women, and even men, are firing back at Bialik on Twitter. User @SomeRandomGuy5 said, “If a man can’t help but sexually harass a woman, it’s HIS fault!”

@geedeck said, “I’m a dude who was wearing jeans & a t-shirt when some guy tried to sexually assault me.”

There are more than two sides to this debate, but #MeToo has served its purpose: to push people to talk.

Sydney Deibert

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