The #MeToo Movement has sparked a lot of debate and conversation across the globe. It has challenged a lot of common conceptions about the current standards around consent, gender bias, and power imbalances. We are exploring deeper into personal autonomy and how that relates to other people. The movement is giving a voice to many victims/survivors that never felt they had a voice before and highlighting some of the injustices people have endured. The movement is bringing a lot of things to light, many of which have never really been discussed before.
What is the #MeToo Movement?
The #MeToo movement actually began roughly 12 years ago with a woman Tarana Burke. Burke works with survivors of sexual assault and started encouraging survivors to connect to supports. It was a way to reduce the stigma associated with victims and help women find the language to talk about some of the things they’ve experienced.
The movement took the spotlight last year when Alyssa Milano encouraged those who had experienced a sexual assault or harassment to use the hashtag. The time was right for many people and by the end of 2017, the hashtag had been used more than 12 million times. Since then the movement has continued to raise awareness and challenge perceptions around sexual assault, sexual harassment, and consent.
How Can We Promote Change?
The fact that so many people have been affected by sexual assault and harassment is not something we should just brush off. It is important that we take steps towards change that will keep more people from abuse and create safer spaces. So how do we do that? Sadly there is no magic solution that will fix everything. It’s going to take time and be a slower process than it really should be.
One of the first steps we can take is to provide more support to sexual assault survivors. People need to feel comfortable speaking up and speaking out. They need to feel comfortable connecting to any supports they need. There is no shame in receiving support and people need to know that. No one should have to suffer alone and in silence.
Another crucially important step is that we keep talking about the boundaries of consent. A huge part of the problem is that people are not taught about consent and why it’s important. In Nairobi, Kenya they started having consent classes and in areas where they have been taught, rape has been reduced by 50%. They also found that boys would step in to intervene 74% of the time if they saw an assault occurring.
Consent is not just an idea for some people, it is an idea for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you feel you are an expert or if you have it all figured out. Everyone needs to be engaging in these conversations. Not only does it raise awareness but it allows us to determine the boundaries before they have been crossed. We consider things in new ways we never have before.
Be a Part of the Change Brought By the #MeToo Movement
It’s clear by the number of people saying #MeToo that we need to make some changes. Change starts with us. It begins with each individual choosing to do things differently. You can be a part of that change. Share this article with people in your life. Have meaningful conversations about your thoughts and feelings on the subject. Continue to challenge your own perceptions and learn more. Pick up a copy of “Got Consent?” for an in-depth overview of consent.
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