#MeToo: Social media movement around sexual assault, harassment gains momentum

Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Monica Rodriguez | Reporter

Within the past week, social media has become riddled with hashtags followed by the words “Me too.” Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted #MeToo last Sunday, followed by a note encouraging women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to post the hashtag on social media platforms to raise awareness of the magnitude of those who have also experienced some form of assault.

As of yesterday, her tweet has been shared over 25,000 times, has around 53,000 likes and has half a million replies from men and women of all ages.

Some of the responders included several more female celebrities, including actresses Gina Rodriguez, Viola Davis and Emmy Rossum, as well as British singer Lily Allen. Actor Terry Crews also detailed his experience of being sexually assaulted and voiced his support for the movement.

Dallas junior Emma Donaldson said that Twitter was a great place to start the movement since the platform is worldwide, therefore showing just how large scale the problem of sexual violence really is.

“I think that talking about these subjects is really important because the more people that bring it up, the more support and less stigma there is attached to it,” Donaldson said.

Part of the reason for the growth of the social media campaign, which started originally in 2006, is as a result of a scandal involving film executive and producer, Harvey Weinstein. On Oct. 5, the New York Times published a lengthy article detailing several years of sexual assault and harassment allegations against Weinstein. The story included the accounts of various women in the film industry who had kept quiet about their interactions with Weinstein for decades.

Weinstein has been fired since the scandal broke, but just do one Twitter search and it’s evident that the topic and the movement is still highly trending in various areas, including Waco and the Baylor community as well.

Montgomery senior, Mohammed Shafiq said he was in awe of how many people had updated their statuses’ with #MeToo.

“I’ll admit that the #MeToo campaign really opened my eyes to how big of an issue sexual harassment is for women,” Shafiq said. “It’s devastatingly sad.”

While Baylor continues to stress its open-door policy to helping those who have been a victim of sexual assault and harassment as a result of its own recent scandals coming to light, the Baylor Counseling Center has expanded its services in order to offer assistance to those victims who choose to come forward.

In a news update posted by Baylor in April 2017, Liz Noble, Baylor’s advocate for students and counselor at the center, said the Baylor staff has been “receptive and eager to help students in need” and willing to help those who need to navigate their way through various legal processes.

Although the road to tackling the stigmas of victim shaming and serial sexual predation are still lined with monumental hurdles, the #MeToo movement continues to allow more people to truly understand the severity of the issues.

“These subjects shouldn’t need to be labeled ‘taboo’ anymore,” Donaldson said. “People really need to break the silence to end the violence.”

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