The "#Me Too" Movement

Updated on March 30, 2020
Ezria Copper profile image

My game plan is to research, condense my findings, and translate it into everyday language for busy people.

The "#Me Too" movement is a movement that draws attention to and condemns sexual harassment and sexual assault. It started in 2006, when the phrase was used on MySpace by a survivor of sexual harassment and activist Tarana Burke. Burke was told by a thirteen year old girl that she had been sexually assaulted. Burke was totally unable to respond to the girl and she wishes she had just said, "Me Too." The point of the movement was to try to empower women by using empathy and showing strength in numbers to women everywhere but mostly to young and vulnerable women. The movement demonstrates just how many women have survived sexual assault and harassment.

In early October, 2017, after sexual abuse allegations were made against Harvey Weinstein, the movement started to rapidly spread as a hashtag on social media. Due to how much attention this got in the media, there were high profile firings, criticism, and other forms of backlash. However, millions of people started using this phrase and it quickly spread to dozens of languages. The original activist who started the movement, Tarana Burke, referred to it as "an international movement for justice for marginalized people in marginalized communities." Burke has claimed that the movement has expanded to include both men and women of all ethnicities, races, and ages, and marginalized people in marginalized communities. Studies have revealed that forty percent of the time a French woman files a complaint of sexual harassment, she is either reprimanded or fired. A report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 2016 revealed that despite the fact that 25% to 85 % of women claim that they experience sexual harassment at work, very few report the incidents out of fear of retaliation.

"If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote, "Me Too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."-

— Alyssa Milano

Current Purposes of the Movement

  • processing all untested rape kits
  • reanalyzing policies of local schools
  • more vetting of teachers
  • updating sexual harassment of policies

The movement includes men and Burke advises men to talk to each other about consent, pay attention to victims including other men, and to speak out against abusive behavior whether it is being done to another man or a woman. One of the main points of the movement is to end exploitation and a culture of abuse. Due to this movement and the attention that it brought to exploitation and abuse several countries including the United States, India, France, China, Japan, and Italy have had discussions in media on shifts in culture and what is to be accepted and what needs to change to get rid of sexual harassment and exploitation in the workplace. It was Professor Daniel Drazner who said that the "#MeToo Movement" ultimately created two cultural shifts. The first is that sexual harassment should not be tolerated in the workplace and the second is that when a person in power is accused the person making the accusation should be taken seriously and believed.

Despite the fact that originally this movement only focused on adults, the movement spread to address students in K through 12 schools who are also victims of harassment or abuse. The spin off of the "#MeToo Movement" became known as the "MeTook12" movement. In a survey from 2011 it was revealed that 40 % of boys and 56 % of girls in seventh to twelfth grade said that they had experienced either a negative sexual comment or been subjected to sexual harassment. The "#MeTook12" intends to reveal how prevalent sexual harassment is in schools and require people in education to get training about abuse, exploitation, and harassment and the actions that should be taken to stop the abuse.

One of the main questions is what role do men play in this movement? Studies have revealed that one in six men has experienced some form of sexual abuse at some point in his life. Some men have been victims of exploitation themselves at the hands of other men and even at the hands of women. And, some men have really distanced themselves from women because of the "#MeToo Movement" due to the fact that they do not understand what behaviors are considered unacceptable. Men are encouraged to reflect on questionable sexual behavior and past behavior.

In conclusion, this movement is about creating cultural change within the workplace, the community, the education system, and the world at large to end sexual misconduct, harassment, and exploitation. It is about empowering people through empathy and letting people know that they are not alone and protecting the marginalized and the vulnerable who are at risk. The movement has drawn attention to abuse and is seeking to change laws and require training for people on how to deal with exploitation and abuse within the workplace, education system, and the world. It is a human rights movement and is about seeking better treatment for people as a whole.

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