The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Editorial – #MeToo needs to go beyond social media

Illustration by Aftin Gavin/The Collegian

Last week, social media users may have noticed their timelines and feeds flooded with millions of #MeToo posts with shared stories of sexual assault.

Spawned by the Harvey Weinstein controversy in which dozens of high-profile actresses are accusing the filmmaker of sexual assault, harassment or just otherwise being a creep early in their careers, actress Alyssa Milano wanted to propel the conversation even further.

“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” Milano wrote on Twitter Oct. 15. She continued on behalf of a friend’s suggestion, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

The post currently has more replies than retweets. Social media users have published #MeToo millions of times on Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Facebook even released data showing that 45 percent of U.S. users have friends that posted “me too” on the site.

“The most important thing that it did was to shift the conversation away from the predator and to the victim,” Milano said of the social media movement in an Oct. 15 interview with the Associated Press.

Men are joining the movement as well. Over 300,000 men have published “me too” on social media.

To widen the perspective, data from RAINN shows one American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. This is an epidemic.

This massive dialogue about sexual assault, although saddening, has the power to enact change and empower victims of sexual assault.

The hashtag isn’t just the next trending Twitter topic or a method by which users seek sympathy. It could be the first time that millions of victims around the world feel their own stories of sexual assault can progress a once-taboo conversation and possibly finally bestow a societal conscience on this topic.

“I wasn’t ready, but I am now… #metoo,” Twitter user @HelloBleached published Oct. 19, echoing the voices of many who were initially hesitant but think their participation can make an impact.

Although victims don’t owe anyone their traumatic stories of assault or harassment, the overwhelming number of participants has shed light on an issue that might have otherwise hid in the shadows until the next Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

Hopefully, the movement does not stop at social media activism. There is a large market for anti-rape products. Society needs to do more to halt the issue before those items are needed.

Society must teach its citizens not to rape, instead of teaching them how to act or dress to avoid being raped and harassed.

Many Americans are no stranger to seeing high-profile rape or sexual assault in the news but often forget their own family members, colleagues and peers are committing these crimes as well. Society must adopt a no-tolerance policy for sexual assault and harassment and hold those who commit crimes accountable.

In many cases, someone accused of assault maintains their career while their victim can struggle with traumatic flashbacks for the rest of his or her life. And that is not right.

Lastly, society must neutralize the topic so it can act as a transparent dialogue to educate citizens instead of shadowing the subject in taboo.

We at The Collegian hope all victims can be liberated from their trauma and that more intelligent minds than our own will find an effective solution to this blight on society.

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