#Metoo has become an anthem in society today as a rallying cry for victims of sexual violence as they join the ever-increasing number of women and men who are coming forward to report sexual abuse. The Me Too movement actually began over 10 years ago as a movement to empower women of color from poor communities to speak out.
This year, the movement was bolstered when People magazine honored some of these whistle blowers as they named the Silence Breakers as person of the year. Musicians, engineers, actors, and laborers have come together and found that they share an unfortunate experience. These brave individuals who came forward to report their abuse opened the door to not only open a dialogue but to create a culture of acceptance and decriminalization for victims of sexual violence.
Harvey Weinstein was well known for his sexual exploitation in Hollywood, but people just accepted that if you wanted to be successful, you had to “pay your dues.” It was a source of awkward comedic material at the 2013 Oscar’s when Seth MacFarlane joked about Weinstein’s abuse of young women in the movie industry. However now that the flood gates have been opened for disclosing abuse, it is no laughing matter.
Many well known and loved celebrities, politicians, business men, and news anchors have been exposed for their sexual misconduct. People who were abused for years kept their silence because we live in a culture that historically does not protect victims of sexual violence. In isolation, one person’s voice is easily ignored. All of them together can not be so easily silenced.
This newfound kinship among victims is empowering as we push for social change to hold sexual offenders accountable. While we aren’t seeing prosecution in the high profile cases yet, many offenders are losing their careers which is helpful to reduce their access to future victims. In the past, the victims were the ones to pay the price for not “going along with” the program. Things that once would have seemed ridiculous are no longer shocking. Matt Lauer having a button to lock women into his office, Roy Moore being banned from a mall for soliciting teenaged girls, and even Charlie Rose walking around naked on set of the PBS news show are just not shocking anymore.
These victims are finally being believed. Even the President of the United States was elected in spite of his own admissions of grabbing women inappropriately and boasting of taking advantage of women. But several brave women have still come forward to tell their stories and are calling for Congress to investigate the allegations.
#Metoo is a battle cry that will continue to pick up more followers. Time magazine’s cover purposely omits the face of one of the women to represent the face of more women who are yet to come forward. The stigma of being a victim is finally being replaced with accountability of offenders. Thank you Silence Breakers for opening the door for others.