Photo courtesy of TV Guide | Online Editor Abrena Rowe talks about the #MeToo trend on Facebook, which was started by Alyssa Milano (above).
If you frequent Twitter or Facebook you might have noticed friends and family posting statuses that simply say “Me, too” this past week. Some statuses are just those two, currently powerful words, while others might have added on a personal story.
In case you are unaware of what this new social media trend is, let me explain. A couple weeks ago a prominent figure in Hollywood was exposed for sexually harassing and assaulting actresses. On Sunday an actress, Alyssa Milano, tweeted out, “Suggested by a friend: 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.”
Following this tweet, “Me, too” quickly became the number one trending hashtag on Twitter. This social media site was flooded with women and men tweeting “Me, too.” A couple hours later, this impactful social media trend bled over to Facebook, where it also quickly became the top trending topic on the site.
It wasn’t until Monday night that I saw statuses all over my timeline that simply said “Me, too.” Along with some of these status updates people shared stories of times they were sexually harassed, while others shared sympathetic sentiments for their own friends and family who were “stepping forward” and speaking out about instances of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. Unaware of the social media trend at the time, I quickly googled “me, too trend on Facebook” and was taken to an article briefly describing what was happening.
Once I understood the gesture of changing your status to “Me, too,” I switched back to Facebook to update my status. As a survivor of countless instances of sexual harassment throughout my short 21 years and one instance of sexual assault, this movement brings about indescribable emotions for me.
I am currently in therapy for PTSD from an incident that occurred my freshman year of college. I have been in therapy for almost two years. I never reported what happened to me because I was unaware of what happened to me until I underwent another traumatic experience, a car crash, almost a year later that caused the suppressed trauma to resurface. Accepting what happened to me and working through feeling comfortable and safe with any form of physical contact with others was difficult, to say the least.
I’m not 100 percent better and, I don’t think I ever will be. That will always be a part of my past – but that’s the thing, it is a part of my past. I no longer let that incident control me or let him have any sort of power over me. Yes, I made the personal decision to not officially report the assault to keep from having to relive the trauma, but I did seek help to recover from it.
If you know me personally, I have probably shared the details of this story with you at some point. I openly talk about the trauma not only as a coping mechanism, but also to allow people to feel comfortable reaching out to me if they have experienced something similar in hopes of guiding them to receive the professional help they need. I don’t consider myself brave for sharing my story. I think it’s necessary to bring awareness to this issue and create a space where others feel comfortable enough to break through the stigma and report and seek help for any instance of sexual harassment or assault.
Even though awareness of sexual assault is currently being discussed because of a social media trend, let’s not allow this conversation to only be a trend, but let’s transform it into a daily conversation. Let’s join together to support one another and change the stigma and culture of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Let’s educate one another and prevent this type of behavior from being a norm. Let’s fight to end blaming victims and making us scared of reporting harassment and assault.
An (incomplete) List of Resources and Reporting Services
Advocacy and Prevention Coordinator 513.704-9031
McGrath Counseling 513.745.3022
Psychological services 513.745.3531
XU’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline 885.481.6238
XU Title IX Office 513.745.3046 and LawsonK1@xavier.edu
Abrena Rowe is a senior psychology major and the Opinions and Editorials Page Editor for the Newswire from Cincinnati.