If you spent any time on social media over the weekend, you may have noticed the trending topic #metoo.
The women’s empowerment hashtag was started by actress Alyssa Milano, who encouraged women to speak up if they had ever been sexually harassed or assaulted.
While the hashtag started on Twitter, it quickly spilled over to Instagram and Facebook. Thousands of women came forward and declared “me too” as a way to break their silence in the face of sexual assault and abuse.Some women shared their stories with the world; others simply typed the two words. No matter the length of expression, it was the declaration that carried impact.
The hashtag came about in light of the recent scandal involving Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct in Hollywood. For years, Weinstein and those within in his company hid his sexual misconduct towards actresses from the public. Actresses were afraid to come forward due to the feeling that they would no be believed and that it would hurt their career.
Rose McGowan has given many of those women a voice with her Twitterstorm directed at Weinstein and Hollywood. Milano’s hashtag just made the voice much louder.
Actresses such as Debra Messing, Gabrielle Union, Evan Rachel Wood, and Anna Paquin have used the hashtag. Even men tweeted it out it. According to Twitter data, the hashtag has been tweeted roughly half a million times as of Monday.
And while those who have spoken out should be applauded for their bravery, it doesn’t take away from those that remain silent. While “me too” has allowed many to come forward with their past, plenty still live in fear of the consequences or continue to bury their troubling past.
Those that have not spoken out should not be forgotten. Their story is just as important as everyone strong enough to say, “Me too.”
Hopefully the “me too” campaign doesn’t end on social media. This should be used as proof that it’s ok to come forward if you’ve been sexually assaulted. By speaking up, the attacker can be dealt with and that thousands of people stand by you.
If you want to get involved in the campaign, simply say “me too” on social media. Too often the victim carries the shame of the attack, as if somehow they themselves committed the offense. It’s time to release fear and even more so, guilt. Whether you only type those two words or whether you share the entire story, just know that you’re amongst others who care and understand.
And if you want to take it a step further, reach out to those who have already said “me too.” Let them know that you understand and support them and thank them for being strong enough to share.
This is not an issue that should be taken lightly. Rosa McGowan, Alysa Milano, and other celebrities should be applauded for their efforts thus far, but it’s troubling to see this many people come forward.
Hopefully the “me too” campaign brings the awareness necessary to put an end to the amount of sexual assault taking place. It’s just sad that it came to this in the first place.