Sexual assault today is one horrifying statistic.
There are so many women and men talking about it. And yet, like an iceberg with a major chunk still submerged underwater, there are so many who aren’t ready yet to divulge their ordeal. Because the world is still unkind to those who do.
This one is for them.
On Sunday night, singer/actor Alyssa Milano posted a tweet sharing an idea that her friend had suggested as a way to broach the traumatic subject of sexual assault and harassment.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
This tweet comes in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, where more and more women have come forward about being harassed by the producer at some point in their careers.
Weinstein was removed from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Saturday.
Milano’s tweet has started a Twitter trend, with both men and women tweeting about their stories of being sexually harassed, assaulted and even raped, using #MeToo.
When last checked, Milano’s tweet had received 9000 retweets and 27,000 comments.
1. There aren’t ‘random incidents’ anymore. There are lists. That’s how real it is.
— Ramya Pandyan (@ideasmithy) October 16, 2017
2. Unwarranted. Unashamed. Unforgettable.
when getting a haircut in Bombay, male hairdresser gave me neck massage which ended with his hands on my breasts. utter shock. #MeToo
— Dr Reena Aggarwal (@drraggarwal) October 16, 2017
3. And ‘Freedom of Speech’ is a provision in how many constitutions of the world again?
4. Should we be proud that we are survivors or angry that we had to go through it all?
Yet to meet a person from my gender who has not suffered abuse/harassment/ being groped in their lives. We're all survivors here. #MeToo
— Priyanka (@autumnrainwish) October 16, 2017
5. And this is why victims don’t want to come forward. The stigma, the judgement, the trauma.
The trial, being torn apart by his lawyer&being called a liar. That was more traumatic than the assault. I still regret reporting it #MeToo
— Robin (@Chokomolin) October 16, 2017
6. Dear men, lend us thy ears. Sexual assault is real and it might be happening to them women right next to you.
For the good men of Twitter. All you have to do is listen. pic.twitter.com/d5tyFc0IFk
— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) October 16, 2017
Several celebrities have also shown solidarity with the cause and tweeted their support.
1. “Get over it.” The one sentence that kills any hope survivors have of fighting for justice.
And I was blamed for it.
I was told not to talk about it.
I was told that it wasn't that bad.
I was told to get over it.
— Najwa Zebian (@najwazebian) October 16, 2017
2. The actress is a rape survivor and shared multiple tweets about what she went through during those traumatic times in her life.
Because I was shamed and considered a "party girl" I felt I deserved it. I shouldnt have been there, I shouldn't have been "bad" #metoo
— #EvanRachelWould (@evanrachelwood) October 16, 2017
3. The True Blood actress makes a statement with just two words. And that’s enough.
— Anna Paquin (@AnnaPaquin) October 15, 2017
4. The One Tree Hill wanted survivors to know they’re not alone.
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) October 15, 2017
We rarely acknowledge that men too can be victims of assault and rape. Our laws are plagued by tunnel vision too. As a result, men are not easily forthcoming about their stories.
1. Seriously, are we going to be that narrow-minded?
I was raped when I was 14 and I've told no one about it because I'm a man and she's a woman and no one would've taken me seriously. #MeToo
— Geisterwand (@Geisterwand) October 16, 2017
2. Believe it. It’s real and it happens to men too.
The Philippines has a hard time of accepting that males get sexually assaulted too. So, to everyone who needs to know. Yes, I was. #MeToo
— Adam (@neverbeadam) October 16, 2017
The movement seems to have had quite an impact because many men have expressed their shock at the staggering number of people sharing their stories.
1. A reality check we all needed.
I'm sad and astonished right now. The universality of this experience is unbelievable. #MeToo is a reality check.
— Jamie (@Schtickzinger) October 16, 2017
2. Makes you sick to the stomach, doesn’t it?
It’s crazy how many cases are out there. Check out the #MeToo hashtag.
— Harish Iyengaar (@scaryhairyman) October 16, 2017
3. Childhood traumas can destroy a person’s life. Parents, believe your kids when they tell you about being assaulted. Teach them about good touch and bad touch.
Parents who advice kids to hide d truth fearing public judgment destroy the child's life by forcing them to bury such a brutal pain#MeToo
— Dr Roshan R (@pythoroshan) October 16, 2017
4. Teach your sons not to rape but to respect women and treat them as equals.
Don't say you have a mother, a sister, a daughter…
Say you have a father, a brother, a son who can do better.
We all can.#MeToo
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) October 16, 2017
Rarely is the case where both sides to a coin are equally empowering. Whether you talk about it or don’t, you’re still a survivor and pretty strong one at that.
Also, not talking about a sexual assault isn't a sign of weakness. Exercising your right to privacy is not a measure of your strength #MeToo
— Tara (@tara_stevo) October 16, 2017
The movement has been gaining major momentum, not just on Twitter but also Facebook, where people are updating their statuses with a similar message.
Now we know what you’re thinking. This is all good and empowering, but does it really help to change the situation?
To the skeptics, all that can be said is this: think of the domino effect. Think of how a small ball of snow rolling down with enough force can start a destructive avalanche. Think of what happened to Harvey Weinstein.
The power of one voice may not be strong enough, but when it causes others to raise their voice too, you have a sonic boom strong enough to shatter existing practices and bring about radical change.
All these people sharing their stories are on the side of this change. And to that, we’ll say #MeToo.