#MeToo Movement Is Not An Attack On All Men

Emily Baros and Katarina Hoech

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Once every 98 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually harassed or assaulted. The #MeToo campaign helps give voices to survivors of sexual assault and harassment. Recently, people who don’t want to assign blame have been attacking and ridiculing this movement unfairly. It’s time for sexual predators to take responsibility for their actions. 

This movement is crucial to reinstalling hope in women who have been silenced by generations of assault and abuse. The hashtag recently became popularized by Alyssa Milano in October 2017 in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.   

The phrase was first invented by Tarana Burke a social activist and is now being used across many social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to bring victims together and show them they are not alone in this fight.

screenshot of Alyssa Milano’s original tweet

This violation of human rights has been going on since the dawn of time. Yet only recently now have women been able to speak up about their trauma.

According to Scott Berkowitz on rainn.org, there are approximately 321,500 victims of sexual assault every year. This problem is so common, that most women have given up on trying to stop it. Lianna Brinded from qz.com referred to this desensitization as people excusing the misdeeds of a man in charge as “boys being boys.” The problem is that most people don’t want to accept what’s happening. Unless you’ve experienced an assault it’s difficult to understand how serious of an issue it is.

 As reported by rainn.org, 94% of women who have been raped experience symptoms of PTSD during the two weeks after the assault. Their trauma has lasting consequences. Women who have been through this trauma are more likely to have depression and suicidal thoughts after it has occurred. Survivors don’t have many choices in these scenarios. They either suffer through the harassment or speak up and risk losing their credibility.

The hashtag has been criticized by articles saying that it takes away attention from real programs that would help victims more.  For example, Mark Angelides from Investmentwatchblog.com argues that not all men sexually assault and harass women and that “do-gooders” should focus on other more worthy programs. While there are better programs designed for counseling and coping with assault and harassment, without the #MeToo movement raising consciousness people wouldn’t know or have access to other bigger programs.

It’s not only this one because many other articles argue that it’s not all men who harass women. David Horsey from latimes.com, argues that the hashtag is an attack on all men and that he couldn’t imagine any of his friends doing it. Horsey’s comment is completely baseless and does not focus on the real issue; that women have been silenced on their trauma are now telling their stories along with men who have also been subjected to sexual harassment. The point of this movement is not to place blame on one specific group of people, but to bring us all together and make a change. 

Sexual harassment is so widespread that it is happening even in schools. Claudia Victorino, the head counselor says, “I think part of the problem is that girls are scared to speak up.” She explained that very few students have ever come to her with cases of harassment, but she knows that it happens whether or not the victims choose to tell her. Without a safe place like #MeToo where victims can go to talk about their experiences, this issue will only grow worse.

While it is good that attention is finally being brought to the matter, some action needs to be taken to put a cease to the issues of sexual harassment and assault. Sara Carver, a history student teacher here shared her opinion on the movement. She said that “actions speak louder than words” with cases like these. It is good that victims are finally being able to speak of their harassment, but if people don’t come up with solutions or place consequences on sexual harassers nothing will change and this will continue being a problem future generations must live with.

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