#MeToo campaign shows breadth of sexual assault issue

By Samantha Moffett, COLUMNIST
On October 22, 2017

Alyssa Milano started the #MeToo movement with a single tweet. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Two words put the severity of the sexual assault problem into perspective: Me Too.

#MeToo tweets and status updates revealed thousands of victims of sexual assault and continue to flood social media. The campaign was created over a decade ago by Tarana Burke, but was relaunched Oct. 15 by actress Alyssa Milano.

The tweet that started it all, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” This tweet came after sexual assault accusations surfaced against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The movement sought to bring sexual assault victims together. Many victims posted a simple #MeToo while others went on to tell their stories, but all of the posts showed just how widespread the issue of sexual assault is. 

Scrolling through my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds, which were filled with #MeToo posts, left me feeling infuriated and heartbroken, but all the while inspired.

The movement creates a sense of solace for those who choose to make their experiences public, and in a time of recently surfaced details of sexual assault cases, it shows unity among the masses. 

The #MeToo campaign does the job of addressing the elephant in the room.

Every 98 seconds someone is assaulted, as reported by the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). In only 48 hours, the hashtag was tweeted nearly one million times, according to the Associated Press. The #MeToo campaign brought a long overdue discussion to the table, but it was not be the first time. 

The “Yes All Women” campaign that highlighted those who struggle with mental and physical abuse was popular on Twitter in 2014. While the campaigns are a positive way to bring together victims of assault, it should not take social movements and uproars to spark the discussion. 

If there is one thing to be taken away from the movement, it should be that you can know someone for years and still not know their struggles. The movement should spark a discussion on the scope of the problem and possible solutions.

The #MeToo posts are just scratching the surface, as many victims choose not to come forward. As reported by RAINN, only 344 of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to the police, meaning about two of every three go unreported. 

The sexual assault problem is a global epidemic for both men and women. Hopefully, the #MeToo campaign signals a shift in how the scope of sexual assault is viewed. 

 

Samantha Moffett is a sophomore majoring in mass communications.

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