Most of us know the that #MeToo movement started after Alyssa Milano’s tweet in which she asked people, who’ve been sexually assaulted or harassed, to write ‘me too’ as a reply to her tweet.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
And most of us know what happened after that. As #MeToo starting trending, countless people shared their experiences of being harassed and assaulted – both men and women (though mostly women).
Does #MeToo Really Matter?
Some people found this movement empowering, others found it quite uncomfortable. Movements like this are important in a world where victim shaming is tragically common. It’s nonetheless disturbing to see all the stories. Although there is something empowering about being able to tell the story, these stories are bound to make us feel uncomfortable as they make it very clear to us how unsafe our world still is.
Silence and shaming are mostly attached to harassment and abuse. Many victims aren’t comfortable opening up about their experiences because they’re not expecting much support. So, it’s understandable what being able to finally speak up must mean to all those people who joined this movement.
But What’s Next?
We cannot deny that the empowerment isn’t the only thing the #MeToo trend is projecting.
It’s also disheartening and distressing to see below the visage of a civilized world, the reality we’re living is not different from what it used to be some one hundred or even 1000 years ago.
As it tends to happen with most hashtags, #MeToo also might fade away, leaving us with some stories and the knowledge that the world is full of predators. So, at this point, we need to decide what’s next. By telling the stories, we’re probably taking a step forward in killing off the taboo related to speaking up about harassment and assault. But if it stays this way, these stories will simply end up as saddening narratives of all the horrible experiences people have gone through.
This hashtag hasn’t changed the fact that most of us would still invalidate others’ experiences and traumas. Or, that many of us are still confused about whether things such as catcalling, stalking, or creating an uncomfortable atmosphere by any actions or words are also a form of harassment.
Humanity is bearing so many untended wounds when it comes to the subject of harassment and abuse.
It’s good to see that a debate has started. Beginnings are good things. Now, we need to see where we’ll go from here.