A Project for Better Journalism chapter

#MeToo gives a voice to sexual assault victims

In October 2017, the hashtag “#MeToo” took over the social media site, Twitter. The hashtag trended virally after the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein came to light.

The American film producer had reportedly been sexually harassing and assaulting women for more than three decades, with over 84 women opening up and speaking out against Weinstein in the past couple months. Since then, Weinstein has been fired from the movie and television company that he helped fund.

Though the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have only recently touched the surface, the #MeToo movement that arose on Twitter had been a work in progress since 2006. The creator, Tarana Burke founded the MeToo movement in order to “help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low wealth communities to find pathways to healing.”

In October, actress and activist Alyssa Milano encouraged people to use the phrase to reveal the problems of sexual harassment and assault by showing just how many people have actually been victims of the events, including herself.

The hashtag went viral and trended worldwide, bringing necessary attention to the problem.

“I’m really glad that the people who have caused the damaged are getting the horrible treatment that they deserve,” said Valeria Marques, a mother of one.

Aside from Weinstein, other hollywood celebrities have been exposed for sexually harassing and assaulting other people. Stars including David Copperfield, Michael Douglas, and Ross Levinsohn, have been outed as a result of the Weinstein allegations.

Recently, at a women’s rights protest held in New York, 23-year-old singer Halsey recited a moving poem about her experience with sexual assault. She told the audience to stand up against the injustice and to be kind to one another.  

“So love your neighbor, please treat her kindly

Ask her story and then shut up and listen

Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian

Listen, listen and then yell at the top of your lungs

Be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues

For the people who had to grow up way too young”

Her poem inspired many men and women both at the rally and those who watched online.

“I love that Halsey, one of my top favorite singers has spoken up,” said senior Stephanie Marques. “I hate that she went through what she did, but it makes me happy that she’s not backing down.”

Every 98 seconds, one American is sexually assaulted. One in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college and yet, only a fraction of the crimes committed have been reported.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of sexual harassment or assault, call 800.656.HOPE (4673).