We've all seen a #MeToo hashtag on the internet. But do we understand why we see them and what it means and who it affects? #MeToo is an international movement against sexual assault and harassment. People use the hashtags on their social media to help spread awareness, show support, and to tell their story in hopes of helping themselves and others.
But what about those survivors of sexual assault or harassment who didn't participate? Who didn't want people to know something so personal about them? Who didn't want to become a victim in the eyes of their friends and family?
They Don't Have To
For those of you who didn't participate in this social media movement, you don't need to feel bad. You had your reasons; you don't need to fall into whatever is currently trending no matter the cause. Don't get me wrong, it's great to help and support others and you should do so whenever the opportunity presents itself, but for something that you may not feel comfortable with, don't let what others might think or say make you be unsupportive of yourself.
They're Not Victims
For those of you who decided not to partake because you didn't want anyone to know you have experienced sexual assault or harassment, we respect your decision. It's a personal experience that some people don't exactly want to share with the world. Something terrible and unfair happened to you and it probably has affected other areas of your life but you can't explain it to people because you don't want them to know because it's painful to talk about.
Not wanting to talk about it is OK – everyone deals with things in different ways.
With that being said, I want you to know that you are not a victim, and no one should see you that way. If you decide to tell someone and they look at you differently then they probably don't deserve to be in your life anyway but know the difference between them looking at you as helpless and looking at you wishing they could have been there for you this whole time. Let people in.
Be Supportive In Your Own Way
I know that seeing all this stuff on the internet and hearing your friends and coworkers talk about it probably makes you feel pressured to join up arms and do what they are doing. But you don't have to. Don't let other people dictate your choices. If you feel the desire to join the movement and blast social media, then do it! But if you'd rather spread awareness by trying to adjust your lifestyles and views, along with other people's, then do that. It's better to be aware than to be naive, but never give in to peer pressure – in any form.