"Me Too" is Not About Me
If you have social media, you have probably seen at least a few friends post, “Me Too.” This viral social media campaign encourages women who have been sexually assaulted, harassed, or raped to post a simple “me too” on their social media to reveal the magnitude of the problem of sexual assault.
This movement is largely in response to the Harvey Weinstein accusations, which involve a growing number of actors accusing Weinstein, a Hollywood film producer, of sexual assault or rape.
Too often, sexual assault and rape are treated as a distant issue, something that is assumed to happen rarely to only a few unfortunate women.
The truth is that sexual assault and rape are real and tragically common issues. The vast majority of women have dealt with sexual harassment and/or sexual assault and the “Me Too” campaign begins to shed light on the overwhelming magnitude of this issue.
Almost immediately after seeing the first few “me too” posts on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I began to see women responding cautiously to the campaign.
Justine Hostetler, a George Fox University (GFU) student said, “The problem I have is that I’ve been pressured by friends to join in by posting “me too”—almost as if having been sexually assaulted makes it my duty to acknowledge it on social media. While many women are being empowered by this trend, some women, myself included, are feeling marginalized since we are not comfortable with speaking about our experiences publicly.”
This view seemed to be common among many vocal women on Facebook and Twitter, who wrote similarly about why they chose to opt out of sharing their story on social media. They either felt that posting put them at risk to some extent, or that women outing their stories should not be necessary for sexual assault to be acknowledged as a serious problem.
Though I agree that sexual assault victims should not feel any pressure to share their stories on social media, as often there are real consequences that come with sharing such a personal and traumatic experience on a public platform, this is not the point of the Me Too social media campaign.
All this campaign asks of women is a two-word post, “Me too,” and though no one should feel pressure to join in because even these two words may provoke unwanted questioning, these two words are not about sharing personal sexual assault stories.
Instead, these two words are about showing the large number of women who are sexual assault victims. They are about showing how it is not the small minority of women who face these traumatic experiences, but the vast majority--almost every woman.
Although I agree with the Twitter user who posted that she should not have to give you her trauma for you to believe it’s real, the reality is many people remain in the dark about the frequency of sexual assault.
Not only does this campaign work to reveal the rampancy of sexual assault, but the campaign also works to remove shame from being a victim of sexual assault.
When we see a whole community of women who have all faced sexual assault to some degree, posting shamelessly on social media—not their stories but simply that this has happened to them too—such an isolating and traumatic event as sexual assault begins to lose the shame attached to it.
The Me Too social media campaign is not about me, and my story; the campaign is about a whole community of women who have been victims, and are unafraid to speak out and demand change.
So I am participating: Me too. And by that I mean, to those women who have been sexually assaulted, you are not alone.
Reported by Alicia Pacheco