By Meredith Howard | Staff Writer
The phrase “Me Too” was coined in 2006 by Tarana Burke, a civil rights activist, but it didn’t truly become a widespread movement until 2017 when actress, Alyssa Milano, tweeted the hashtag and it went viral.
According to the ‘me too’ movement website, Burke founded this movement to “help survivors of sexual violence, particularly black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing.”
#MeToo has touched almost every corner of the world, with Spain, India, China and many other countries adopting the social movement after protesters take to the streets. #MeToo has also heavily affected Hollywood, with many women now feeling encouraged to share their experiences after seeing other actresses and celebrities do so.
Baylor is not immune to the effects brought on by the #MeToo movement, but views vary on what changes have been brought about.
Hoffman Estates, Ill., sophomore Zachary Tufenkjian, co-president of It’s On Us BU, said he thinks Baylor is better off because of the #MeToo movement.
“There has been a lot more activity on campus as far as activism and also on part of Baylor itself and the administration, when it comes to raising the importance of domestic violence and sexual violence at Baylor,” Tufenkjian said.
Tufenkjian also said he believed other factors have contributed to increased activism at Baylor.
“I think it kind of coincided with the whole [sexual assault] scandal as well. Overall, there has been a lot of changes made, not only from the scandal, but also from the #MeToo movement itself, that have resulted in survivors probably being taken more seriously and having more resources provided to them, which I think is really good,” Tufenkjian said.
One administrative change Tufenkjian said he appreciated was the expansion of Title IX-related employees at Baylor.
“The Title IX office used to be a part of another office; however, now the Title IX office is its own proprietary office where it has its own coordinator, staff, investigators, administrative assistants and the whole nine yards, and it’s also growing as well,” Tufenkjian said. “So I think that played a big shift just because rather than lumping it in with other disciplinary actions, whether that be academic or just following the student code of conduct, eventually it established its own office that has been earmarked for dealing with sexual violence issues and domestic violence on campus.”
Jacksonville, Fla., senior Grace Stotlemyer said she has not seen changes in culture at Baylor following #MeToo.
“I think the emphasis on accountability and consequences at Baylor has been grossly exaggerated,” Stotlemyer said. “Even with the #MeToo movement, sexual assault on our campus and real statistics are being concealed.”