#MeToo: Changing The Narrative

#MeToo: Changing The Narrative

More than a hashtag
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Fortunately, I am not someone who felt I needed to tweet or post #MeToo. Although I would be lying if I said I had never been in situations (yes, more than once) where a boy's words or actions could have easily turned into sexual assault.

I am lucky that I don't have a personal story to share, but I know people that have been sexually assaulted and harassed that hash-tagged their story and I know others that have been sexually assaulted and harassed that did not.

For those of you who don't know, #MeToo was made popular by actress Alyssa Milano on October 15. She tweeted this in response to the sheer number of women who have made accusations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein.


- Alyssa Milano's tweet of Tarana Burke's campaign

While the hashtag went viral seemingly overnight, "Me Too" has been around for more than ten years, starting with activist Tarana Burke's campaign to bring awareness of the number of women of color who had been sexually assaulted, abused, harassed, and exploited. Her campaign also helped make woman off all ages feel that they weren't alone and could share their stories if they wanted to, exactly what the movement is doing now.

The #MeToo not only encourages victims to share their stories but also takes the focus off the predators. In the media, abusers get the most coverage, almost setting the victims aside as a side note.

When I think of sexual assault scandals as seen in the news, my mind goes to Bill Cosby, Jimmy Savile, Kevin Clash, Roman Polanski, Brock Turner, and most recently Harvey Weinstein. All of these men are abusers; all of them have their stories shared more than the men, women, and children they assaulted. With the hashtag, only the stories of the survivors get told.

#MeToo is shedding light on the sheer number of people who have been sexually assaulted or harassed. The reaction of Facebook and Twitter users has been horrific, simply due to the sheer number of people they know who have bravely posted or tweeted #MeToo.

With mass attention on rape culture, it is time to do something to help stop sexual violence. Because as much as I like the ideas being started by the hashtag, as of right now that is all they are ideas. Actions do speak louder than words and clearly, action is needed to stop sexual assault and harassment, or at least bring the number of people affected down so women feel safe again.

While women are told to take precautionary steps to "prevent" sexual assault, it is not enough because it is a one-way conversation.

To help change the narrative being told in rape culture, we need to start conversations with respectable men who will help convince abusive men to act differently. We need to educate children about consent, behaving with respect and expecting their friends to do the same, and how to protect themselves and speak out against sexual abuse. We need to support and believe sexual assault survivors, make them feel safe, and encourage them to take action against their abuser.

We need to speak up or step in if we see abuse taking place; keeping silent will only keep sexual assault going. Hopefully, all of these steps will help change the narrative of rape culture.

Help keep this conversation relevant, even after the media hype goes down.

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Monk

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A list Of 15 Inspiring Words That Mean So Much

A single word can mean a lot.
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Positivity is so important in life. A lot of times we always go to quotes for empowerment but I have realized that just one word can be just as powerful. Here is a list of inspiring words.

1. Worthy

Realizing your self-worth is important. Self-worth can really make or break a persons personality. Always know that you are worthy of respect. And also, never compare yourself to others.

2. Courage

Be courageous in life. Life has so many opportunities so do not be scared to grasp any opportunity that comes your way. You have the ability to do anything you have your heart and mind set to do, even the things that frighten you.

3. Enough

When you are feeling down and feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough, know that you are more than enough. And yes there is always room for improvement but when it comes to my self-worth I always have to remind myself that I am enough.

4. Blessed

Be thankful. A lot of times we forget how blessed we are. We focus so much on stress and the bad things that are going on in our lives that we tend to forget all of the beautiful things we have in life.

5. Focus

Focus on your goals, focus on positive things, and focus on the ones you love. Do not focus on things that will keep you from not reaching your goals and people that do not have good intentions for your life.

6. Laugh

Laughing is one of the best forms of medicine. Life is truly better with laughter.

7. Warrior

Through the good and the bad you are a warrior. Be strong, soldier.

8. Seek

Seek new things. Allow yourself to grow in life. Do not just be stuck.

9. Faith

During the bad times, no matter the circumstances, have faith that everything will be all right.

10. Live

Start living because life is honestly way too short. Live life the way you want to live. Do not let anyone try to control you.

11. Enjoy

Enjoy everything that life has to offer. Enjoy even the littlest of things because, as I said before, life is short. And plus, there is no time to live life with regrets.

12. Believe

Believe in yourself and never stop. Believing in yourself brings so many blessings and opportunities in your life.

13. Serendipity

A lot of times we look for things to fill an empty void that we have. Usually what we are looking for comes when we are not looking at all. Your serendipity will come.

14. Create

Share your ideas with the world. Creativity brings change to your life. However you chose to use your creativity do not be scared to show your intelligence, talent, and passion.

15. Love

The world is already full of so much hate, so love unconditionally with all your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tanveer Naseer

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Better Not Bitter

"Let your past make you better, not bitter."

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After completing my junior year at Iowa State, I have found myself reflecting on a lot of the experiences and people who have helped me get to the point I am at today. Family obviously comes to mind, followed by my friends, my sorority sisters, my boyfriend, my professors, and my mentors. I am able to contribute a lot of my success to their support and compassion that they have shown me throughout my past three years. I am also able to contribute my success to the woman I have grown to be and to the woman I have always wanted to be. You see, three years ago, the woman I was was buried in a toxic relationship that didn't allow me to flourish into the woman I was striving to be.

Let me take a step back, this article is not meant to bash the person who it is about. In fact, it's more of a thank you. Because you see, without him letting go of me, I would have never taken the leaps and bounds out of my comfort zone to become the woman I am so damn proud to be today. This is also not meant to say that I am I glad I was in such a toxic relationship, it was honestly so terrible that I wouldn't wish it upon anyone but I am in fact, thankful. I learned more from that relationship that I have in anything else in my life.

First, I learned to be a fighter, and not in a bad way. I learned to stand up for myself and what I believe in. I have become vocal about my passions and stand up for people when they are treated wrong. I no longer let people walk all over me, but rather I stand my ground firmly and confidently. Thank you.

Second, I learned to be fierce. Fierce in love, kindness, compassion, and willpower. I believe in my abilities and the things I am able to accomplish if I set my mind to something. I have learned that in being fierce, there is absolutely no time to doubt myself which has worked greatly in my favor. I learned that demanding respect in all relationships I have formed has been about me making the decision to make myself a priority and learning to never settle for any less than I deserve, ever again. Thank you.

Third, I learned compassion. I learned to be kind to the other woman, and mostly, to the person who chose to hurt me. It took everything in me to remain kind while I was being hurt, but I am so thankful that I stayed true to the values and morals I was raised on. I have carried this with me throughout the past three years by choosing to show compassion to all people around me, and looking deeper into the reasons behind the actions and decisions that people make. Often times there is something going on behind closed doors and because of that, it is important to always, always radiate kindness. Thank you.

I wanted to extend my gratitude to the person who hurt me because if you hadn't, I wouldn't be the badass, boss girl, powerful woman that I am today. I am confident, smart, loving, and fully capable of giving and receiving the kindest, most sincere kind of love. My life has changed for the better, and I wouldn't change a single thing. I wish you the best, because let me tell ya, it feels great.

By the way, if you ever feel like you deserve better than what you're receiving in a relationship, trust your gut & walk the hell away. It's worth it.

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