In light of the inexcusable alleged actions of Harvey Weinstein, many high-powered individuals have been speaking out about sexual assault.
The Twitter campaign expanded to other social media platforms as women, men and gender neutral people from all walks of life, ages, races and creeds spoke out about being sexually harassed or assaulted.
A startling number of victims have faced sexual harassment or assault in their jobs, home life and/or in public.
Being harassed while walking on the street and/or groped during a social gathering is unfortunately more common than all of us would like to think it is.
The Weinstein scandal has brought a long-stigmatized topic to the surface, which may make people more comfortable about sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment.
Sharing stories can lead to more reporting. For so long, victims of sexual assault or harassment push the crime aside because of stigma, or humiliation.
This #metoo campaign, in conjunction with other efforts both locally and beyond, can put a stop to these external influences.
There has been a recent push for awareness of sexual harassment and assaults on college campuses. The scandal at Baylor opened eyes with respect to how isolating a campus can be for victims of sexual crimes.
An increase of sexual assaults was recently reported at several North Texas universities. Though an increase is never good, it does usually indicate a spike in awareness and a destigmatized environment. Reporting the incident is one of the first steps of reducing the crimes.
Telling your own stories, if you are comfortable doing so, can help someone find the courage to do the same.
And the sheer volume of response with the #metoo hashtag has power — let’s wield it for change.
With the looming changes ahead for Title IX — the federal office that handles sexual assault claims on university campuses — make sure your local state representative knows your thoughts on what could make a safer campus for all. And beyond Title IX, what makes for a safer environment for all.
Every #metoo is a brave step toward a better place for women, and that should never lose steam.
If you feel the time is right for you to share, do so and know you are not alone.
Need help or someone to talk to?
Sexual Assault Hotline (available 24/7)
Chat online: www.rainn.org