Students join #MeToo
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In 1996, a young child shared her sexual assault experiences with youth camp director Tarana Burke. At that time, Burke felt helpless and was incapable of comforting the girl and admitting that she too, had been there. After seeing the harmful effects, even on young children, this moment inspired Burke to later initiate the #MeToo movement to recognize the widespread issue of sexual harassment, assault and rape and demonstrate that victims are not alone.
When Harvey Weinstein was accused by over 50 women of sexual misconduct, the #MeToo movement went viral and women and men began posting their experiences on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Actress Alyssa Milano helped surge the movement with a callout tweet to victims, saying it was, “so we can give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem and stop telling us we’re ‘overreacting.'” #MeToo followers can comment on other people’s posts to relate to other survivors’ experiences and provide insight of how they overcame their own to unite against sexual abuse.
“I think that women finally speaking up for what’s going on in their lives is very inspirational and it should’ve happened a long time ago,” sophomore Nia Arellano said.
Junior Leon Nickolas follows the #MeToo page because she identifies as a feminist. “It’s important for everyone to be represented,” she said. “And I feel that everyone should have love, peace, equality and support for each other.”
Not only are women speaking up on the topic, but also men. “It’s their own right, they can do whatever they want,” sophomore Eduardo Hernandez said. “It’s good for them to tell us how they feel, because if they don’t speak up, they won’t get anywhere in life.”
On the other hand, the hashtag has received opposition by individuals who argue it is solely a plea for attention and that the victims need to “man up,”. Senior Jenna Callison believes discussion of the acts is needed for women to heal and to reveal that sexual abuse is really happening. “I don’t think it’s about attention, I think it’s about spreading awareness,” she said. “Usually when some women come out about being assaulted, it allows other women to not be as afraid to speak out on it.”