At 1:21 pm on October 15, Alyssa Milano took to Twitter and tweeted, “If you’ve ever been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Her intent, as stated by a phone interview with the Associated Press, was “My hope is people will get the idea of the magnitude of just how many people have been affected by this in the world, in our lifetimes, in this country.”
Milano also took this time to highlight the sexual harassment case against producer Harvey Weinstein which is growing, as more people are coming out as survivors. Weinstein is known for producing movies such as Pulp Fiction (1994), Gangs in New York (2002), and Shakespeare in Love (1998).
The growing hashtag ignited a flame under a multitude of survivors. If we go back ten years, activist Tarana Burke originally started this campaign; her intention as a sexual assault survivor was to create a group for women of color where they could help each other cope with an array of sexual assault crimes.
Now in 2017, Burke said, “For #metoo to work it needs to be intersectional, sexual violence knows no race, class, or gender but the response to sexual violence absolutely does. Until we change that, any advancement that we make in addressing this issue is going to be scarred by the fact that it wasn’t across the board.”
This flame was not, however, the greatest creation for some; this movement can be a constant reminder for many victims of their past and could resurface their trauma. However, it can be an amazing outlet for them to share their stories and recognize other survivors.
Matthew Artiga said, “I know the base intention of this movement is inherently good but I can’t help but be feeling even more of an outcast and misunderstood in the circle of survivors especially because I identify as male and male survivors are often shadowed into a corner because we make up quite a less percentage than female survivors.”
Rape culture is a sociological concept that undermines the issue of sexual assault. Aspects of this include victim blaming and trivializing rape by the denial of widespread rape, or refusing to acknowledge the harm caused by some forms of sexual violence.
This connects together by making the hashtag to show how big the issue is, you are putting survivors in a situation where the argument is not believed until explicitly stated, which falls under denial, one of the many aspects listed under the subtopics of rape culture.
A few weeks later, after this hashtag came out, a group got together and organized a march on November 12th down Hollywood Boulevard to take the hashtag from the screen to the streets.
Many actors have also come out against producers and other filmmakers in the industry who have assaulted them. Due to constantly being under the light of society, sexual assault in the media is very tricky to maneuver, and many factors go into why a survivor wouldn’t speak out against their offenders.
How you use your voice is important to be in the spotlight as a celebrity, it gives you the opportunity to get the issue out to a higher multitude. Abigail Ruiz, a social rights activist and survivor, stated, “Although this hashtag can be a step in the right direction, it isn’t the first time it’s been done before but at least some efforts are being made.”
After the #metoo campaign, the #meat14 hashtag surfaced, it originally started as a rebuttal to the allegations of Roy Moore in which it was stated that he was sexually involved with a fourteen-year-old when he was thirty-two. People posted images of themselves at fourteen to show that whether you were beginning to discover your sexual identity, play with dolls, or go to band practice, at 14 you’re still a child and can’t fully grasp the actions of consent in correlation with an over aged man.
In order for this movement to carry more significance, more needs to be done rather than just talking about it. Be cautious and understanding of others stories, and do your best to be the change you wish to see.