To be completely honest, as a boy growing up, I had no idea that so many women had experienced sexual assault, rape or intimidation. I thought that it was only a select few or celebrities that were “in that life.” Now, I’d be surprised if I could find a single one who hadn’t.
With more than 30 women coming out against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, on Sunday afternoon, actress Alyssa Milano used her Twitter account to encourage women who’d been sexually harassed or assaulted to tweet the words #MeToo. In the last 24 hours, a spokesperson from Twitter confirmed that since Sunday, 650,000 tweets have included the hashtag.
The #MeToo hashtag isn’t just trending on Twitter, facebook and instagram were filled with heartbreaking testimonies of people publicly acknowledging that they, too, had experienced harassment or assault. More than 12 million posts, comments and reactions happening on Facebook since Monday afternoon. Some shared their stories, some simply posted the hashtag to add their voices to the masses. Other stars like Rosario Dawson and Gabrielle Union all shared their stories. And it wasn’t just women: Men also spoke up about their experiences with assault.
The power of #MeToo is taking something that women had long kept quiet about and transforming it into a movement. Unlike many kinds of social-media activism, it isn’t a call to action or the beginning of a campaign, culminating into a series of protests and speeches and events. It’s simply an attempt to give a voice to the voiceless. Those who had their hands covered over their mouths for so long because of shame or feelings of helplessness and powerless. Its a way to get people to understand just how prevalent sexual harassment and assault is in society. To change the narrative and let both women and men know that they are not alone.
It’s hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are after a sexual assault. Please know that you’re not alone. According to RAINN (Rape Abuse & Incest National Network) there are three things to keep in mind listed below.
1. Your safety is important. Are you in a safe place? If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, call 911.
If you’re not feeling safe, consider reaching out to someone you trust for support. You don’t have to go through this alone.
#METOO HASHTAG SHEDS LIGHT ON THOUSANDS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS
2. What happened was not your fault. Something happened to you that you didn’t want to happen—and that’s not OK.
3. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673). You’ll be connected to a trained staff member from a local sexual assault service provider in your area. They will direct you to the appropriate local health facility that can care for survivors of sexual assault. Some service providers may be able to send a trained advocate to accompany you.
When you call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, a staff member will walk you through the process of getting help at your own pace. You can also visit online.rainn.org to chat anonymously. Support specialists can also provide information on topics you might have questions about, including:
Receiving Medical Attention