It Takes Real Courage To Write #MeToo. Don’t Be The Reason Your Friends Are Afraid To Share

Posted: October 20, 2017

The recent #MeToo campaign has been derided by some as hashtag activism, but let’s look beneath the surface. There is a lot more to speaking up when you are in a vulnerable place.

On October 15th, Alyssa Milano tweeted:

capture

“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet: Suggested by a friend: If all 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.”

She would have not imagined the level of response this tweet would receive. Thousands and thousands of women used the hashtag. The hashtag started to trend. Many men were seen opening up too. The hashtag was used to stand up against a lot of cultural beliefs, patriarchal norms, and influential personalities. No less. It became a revolution.

On the other hand, some critics couldn’t stop themselves from stating…this is how you show your vulnerability… If men want to know or help, let them trend a hashtag…this is how people are jerked out of their social media comforts. And so forth.

I chose to pen down my thoughts because this hashtag is much more then the success metrics or the criticism of the campaign. Let us step down from the statistics and understand why did so many people choose to use (or not use) the hashtag.

  • Not because it is easy to just write #MeToo
    When you know what the hashtag stands for and now everyone will know, accepting this in public is a huge step.
  • It is empowering.
    I would like to believe people who have confronted the truth on social media are people who have opened up about it earlier. Because it is not easy to open up on social media for the first time.
  • Many men came forward.
    Although it was directed to women, many men came forth. I feel this is a bigger achievement. If this won’t let one accept the ‘magnitude of the problem’, I don’t know what would.
  • Does it give us the exact figure of the sexual harassment or assault cases?
    No, it doesn’t. Was it supposed to? Isn’t it enough that so many people came out? And what of so many people who are not able to come out? Maybe because they don’t have the access? Or even if they can, they don’t want to. Maybe they don’t trust us. Yes, they don’t. They are already broken. Why write this on their status or tweet to get scorn when they can stay quiet? Wasn’t that what they have always found comfort in? Wasn’t the objective of the campaign to break the silence?
  • Nobody wants to know that the people they love have gone through something so tragic.
    If they are not able to open up to you, then your love is not enough. Maybe you are the reason why they are stopping themselves from writing #MeToo. Think about it?

This campaign came forth after incidents like the Ram Rahim rape scandal and Harvey Weinstein scandal surfaced. It may have been targeted towards workplace assault in all kinds of industries, but people accounted every incident of their lives including childhood experiences, public place assaults, marital rapes, and many such situations when they felt violated under vulnerable circumstances. This explains the ‘magnitude’; and to some extent the success of the campaign.

It may not be important to trend a hashtag. But, we fail to understand that it is WE who can make the survivors comfortable. Help them open up. Help them trust us. Help them live. It is important that WE share our stories so that they don’t feel alone and cocoon themselves. It is important that WE empower them in our personal capacity so that we can prevent people from having such experiences in the first place. It is important that WE question the popular beliefs with religious innuendos without blindly believing in them.

Nobody deserves to go through this disgusting experience in their lives. Nobody deserves to live in fear. Nobody deserves to hate themselves. Nobody deserve to turn into a monster. Nobody wants to be a #MeToo.

 

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Copywriter by choice. Dreamer by birth. Observer of society. Views are personal. Volunteer at BYOB

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