September 4, 2019 | Civil Rights
If you have been online, watched the TV, read the newspaper, or been out and about in your local community at all over the last few years, you have likely at least heard of the MeToo Movement.
Taking the world by storm a few years ago, the undertones of this movement have been building for decades but has recently come to a head and has become one of the most polarizing movements of the modern era.
Most people know of the movement but know little about the goals behind the movement and why it was founded. According to the MeToo Movement website:
“The MeToo Movement was founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing.Our vision from the beginning was to address both the dearth in resources for survivors of sexual violence and to build a community of advocates, driven by survivors, who will be at the forefront of creating solutions to interrupt sexual violence in their communities.”
In less than six months, because of the viral #metoo hashtag, a vital conversation about sexual violence has been thrust into the national dialogue.
What started as local grassroots work expanded to reach a global community of survivors from all walks of life and helped to de-stigmatize the act of surviving by highlighting the breadth and impact of a sexual violence worldwide” (MeToo).
Why MeToo Matters in Society Today
According to research conducted by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, statistics surrounding sexual assault in the US is quite staggering and gives credence to the underlying motivation of the Me Too Movement.
Sexual Assault in the United States
- One in five women and one in 70 men will be assaulted and raped within their lifetime.
- Within the United States, one in three women and one in six men experienced endure frequent assault and harassment at the hands of another individual.
- More than 50% of female victims who report being raped claimed that they were raped by an intimate partner.
- Over 40% of female rape victims claim that they were raped by an acquaintance or someone that they barely knew.
- More than 52% of male victims were assaulted by an acquaintance and a staggering 15% say they were assaulted by a stranger.
- Almost half (49.5%) of multiracial women and over 45% of American Indian/Alaska Native women were subjected to some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime
- An estimated 90% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and the remaining 10% percent are male.
- Eight percent of rapes occur while at work and were by a male authority figure.
Cost & Impact of Sexual Assault
- The lifetime cost of rape per victim is estimated to be a staggering $122,461.
- Annually, rape costs the U.S. more than any other crime ($127 billion), followed by assault ($93 billion), murder ($71 billion), and drunk driving, including fatalities ($61 billion).
- As many as 81% of women and 35% of men report significant impacts such as PTSD, depression, phobias, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
- Health care is 36% higher for women who were physically and sexually abused as children.
The point of the MeToo Movement is to bring these and other statistics to light, though ultimately numbers can never truly quantify the emotional trauma a person feels.
Highlighting the abuse is meant to illuminate the fact that those sorts of abuses are universal.
Sexual harassment and abuse go on all over the place, and there is virtually no niche or area of life today that cannot be affected- politics, education, religion, entertainment, sports, and more.
Wherever there is a power differential between a dominant male presence, such as in a news room, office space, or certain industry niches, the men can often use that dominating presence in order to harass, intimidate, and assault women.
These facts cannot be ignored any longer and that is what gave birth to this movement and as long as statistics like these continue the movement is still needed and will still be viable for society today.
Why the MeToo Movement is Necessary
According to an article by The Sun, there are many women who have tweeted “MeToo” to say they have been sexually harassed at some point in their lives and these included:
- Lady Gaga
- Monica Lewinsky
- Debra Messing
- Gabrielle Union
- Anna Paquin
- Patricia Arquette
- Rosario Dawson
- Rachel Wood
- America Ferrea
- Sheryl Crow
- Gillian Anderson
- Selma Blair
- Labour MP Stella Creasy
The MeToo Movement supports survivors of sexual violence and their allies by connecting survivors to resources, offering community organizing resources, pursuing a policy platform, and gathering sexual violence researchers and research.
MeToo Movement work is a blend of grassroots organizing to interrupt sexual violence and digital community building to connect survivors to resources.
As the MeToo Movement affirms empowerment through empathy and community-based action, the work is survivor-led and specific to the needs of different communities. (MeToo).
There is no one set example of what abuse looks like to the MeToo Movement because it depends on the situation, the woman and man involved, and what was specifically done and said and the connotation it was done in.
The point is not that everything on the spectrum is the same, but that it’s all the same spectrum and needs to be addressed.
How Women See the MeToo Movement
For women who have been a victim of assault, rape, harassment, or abuse at the hands of a person in their lives, the MeToo Movement is a way to give themselves a voice.
It is a way to speak out and call attention to a problem that bas been ignored, overlooked, glossed over, and downplayed for far too long.
And as the popularity and support for the movement only continues to grow and dominate society it is obvious that there is indeed a need for the Me Too Movement and that women are using this to help improve the lives of other women around the world.
“According to recent PEW research, the #METOO hashtag has been used over 19 million times and, not unexpectedly, usage surges around key events such as Harvey Weinstein’s resignation from the board of his entertainment company or during the Brett Kavanagh Supreme Court hearings.
What is striking, although probably not surprising to many women or indeed any victim, is how the #METOO movement crosses occupation, industry, education, sexuality and race.
The assaults and harassment experienced by countless women for centuries are real and their memories painful, yet most incidents are unreported or are not taken seriously” (Insider NJ).
Where We Go From Here With MeToo
The final thing to remember about the MeToo Movement is how it is bringing to light a very real concern in society today.
Contrary to what some may believe, the goal of the MeToo Movement is not to make life hard for men or to isolate men and attack them.
It is instead focused on giving victims a voice and bringing the issue of sexual assault and harassment out from the shadows and into the main light of current events.
As stated on the MeToo official website: “Our collective power increases with each person who shares an individual story. Our shame subsides whenever someone voices rage at the entitlement to another person’s body and spirit that drives sexual violence. And every time the urgency finally dawns on anyone else that this violent epidemic keeps on infecting lives around us all with raw trauma — that sense of awfulness — we boost the chances of transforming our shared grief into some much-needed healing, in ourselves and in our world” (Yelling Me Too).
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