Social media has been filled with people sharing the comment #MeToo. While many simply share the two words, others add a comment, some share their story, and of course, some created conflict and stirred controversy.
The origin of the hashtag #MeToo came ten years ago from a woman named Tarana Burke after a young girl at camp tried to tell a story of sexual assault. She turned her over to another counselor but soon felt guilty for being afraid to hear her story. Then last weekend when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a call-out to victims "so we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem." You can read the story here.
As a survivor, I felt I needed to add my voice to others and added my facebook status #MeToo. As I scrolled Facebook the next few days, I came across many friends who have shared their stories of abuse. What I didn’t expect was to see many, many more women I know sharing the status. These are women who whom I have gone to church, or work, or social activities. Yet, I had no idea we all shared these experiences. I also saw male friends sharing the status and their stories-stories I didn’t know. It reminded me of the extent of the issue.
A friend went a bit further with this. I am “stealing” her idea and want to share it here.
#MeToo - I have been touched in inappropriate ways. I have been sexually harassed on the street, in classrooms, in restaurants and bars, at church, and at work. I was sexually abused as a child and raped as an adult.
#IamComplicite - I have remained silent when I witnessed sexual harassment for fear of losing my job or friends. I have blamed the victim. I have called women names such as slut or whore. I have judged women based on how they look or dress. I have remained silent and did nothing when I knew about abuse, because I was told in confidence and promised not to tell.
#IbeliveYou – I worked in a job for many years where I heard men, women, girls, and boys share their stories of harassment and abuse. I have been blessed to have the trust of friends who shared their stories with me. I do not judge you and I believe you.
#IwillDoBetter – Maya Angelo said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I promise to do better. The extent of the issue is obvious. Push for laws that protect victims. Speak up for those who are unable to speak for themselves. Listen to stories. Believe without judgement.