You’ve seen those two words posted by women you know in Fort Worth and beyond — maybe your sister, wife, daughter or good friend — on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
You may have even written or thought those words yourself.
The two words are shining a light on how many people have faced sexual harassment or assault.
Local shelters say they have yet to see an increase in calls or visits. But they said Tuesday that they believe it’s coming.
“We do tend to see an uptick in calls when public awareness campaigns roll out,” said Katharine Collier Esser, assistant director of research and training services at The Women’s Center, which provides rape and counseling services in Fort Worth.
“We might see some later in the week or month, as more people start feeling comfortable talking about it.”
The latest incarnation of the movement started Sunday, after sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Actress Alyssa Milano suggested on Twitter that anyone who has “been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply.”
The idea quickly spread as women and men alike began posting those two words on social media, sometimes including the stories behind the words.
One in three
“We are really proud of anyone who comes forward and says this happened,” said Kathryn Jacob, CEO of SafeHaven of Tarrant County. “This is one of the most widely under-reported crimes.”
Now she would like to see another movement — from men.
She’d like to see the offenders of sexual harassment or assault start posting “me too” as well, and then explain what happened.
“It’s probably not likely,” Jacob said. “But I think we have to be bold in what we want. For too many millennia, we have accepted a world where women are property, where women are victims.
“That has to change,” she said. “There has to be a cultural change. I don’t think women are more important than men. But they are equal to men.”
She has seen some men post on Facebook that they hear what women are saying and won’t tolerate sexual harassment or assault in their circle of friends.
“It takes peer pressure sometimes and this is incredibly encouraging,” Jacob said.
‘A bit of backlash’
“The point of the work we’ve done over the last decade with the ‘me too movement’ is to let women, particularly young women of color, know they are not alone — it’s a movement,” Burke posted on Twitter.
Some men are saying it’s hard to believe that so many women have been impacted.
“Just because something is unbelievable doesn’t mean it’s not true,” Jacob said. “Victims don’t come out unless they are victims. Maybe this will make people, particularly men, pay attention to the issue more and call out their friends.”
There is the worry about backlash to women who posted just the two words — “me too” — or the entire story of what happened to them.
“There’s always a bit of backlash,” Esser said. “Maybe some people will not believe people they know who are posting this or not accepting it.”
Or they might blame the victim — saying that it didn’t happen, or the person brought it on themselves or misinterpreted something as simple as flirting.
“The most important thing is to believe people … (and not) put it back on the victim,” she said.
And just because someone remains silent on the topic doesn’t mean she or he is unaffected.
“I believe the number is nearly 100 percent of women who experience sexual assault or sexual harassment,” Jacob said.
In Tarrant County, one in three women will experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, statistics show.
“Just because someone didn’t put it on their Facebook page doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” Jacob said.