The big problem with #metoo

Last week you may have noticed many of your friends tweeting two simple words with no further clarification: “Me too.” Although these seem like two innocent words that we hear many times every day, in this context, they have a deeper and darker meaning.

Actress Alyssa Milano called upon followers on Twitter to tweet simply “Me too” if they have ever been the victim of sexual harassment or assault, in order to provide the world a way to better comprehend just how many women have been harassed or assaulted in their lives. Although this was simply a revival of a movement started over a decade ago, Milano’s push accomplished just what she set out to do. Millions of tweets began pouring in, spreading to other social media platforms, encompassing women, and even men, from all over the globe, telling their stories or simply testifying of the all too abundant plague on this world through those two words.

According to CBS News, the idea was to elevate the Harvey Weinstein conversation, placing the emphasis on victims rather than perpetrators and offering a glimpse into the number of women who continue to be victimized, Milano said.

Although the work that Milano set out to accomplish by reviving this movement was accomplished, the fact that it was even necessary is absolutely appalling.

It’s 2017, and victims of sexual harassment, assault, and rape are still having to prove themselves. They are still being asked, “Well, what were you wearing?”, “How were you behaving?”, and “Do you think you may have done anything to make him think you wanted it?”

Women are still too afraid to walk to their cars by themselves at night, too afraid to pump gas when it’s dark, and avoid going to stores late at night in fear of what could happen to them. Facebook posts are constantly being circulated of people warning others of ways that they could potentially be kidnapped, raped, or even killed. It’s a terrifying world that women and even some men live in every single day that the rest of the world seems entirely unaware of.

The fact that viral tweet campaigns are necessary in order to prove that sexual harassment, assault, and rape are big enough problems in our world today says a lot about our society.

It is simply abhorrent that victims are left to not only put their own worlds back together, but convince everyone else that it truly happened to them, that they weren’t asking for it, and that something needs to be done about it. The responsibility should not lie on the victim, but rather on the rest of society to remedy the problem before it continues to happen.

How many more people have to be qualified to tweet “Me too” before the rest of our world, our lawmakers, and our leaders decide it is a worthy enough problem to focus their efforts on ending?

As a society, we can work on unburdening the survivors that so often face guilt, accusations, and torment over the unwanted advances of others. These are our friends, our mothers, our sisters, our brothers, our friends, our family, and our fellow human beings being affected in so many more ways than you can imagine. They are being affected so much more than what the severity of “Me too” may seem to bear.

So, men, attempt to be a little more aware of how often women have to go through these things. Women, be aware that it happens to men too. And society, please recognize that recognizing it is a problem is the first step. Millions of Twitter users this past week proved that it is a problem, if it wasn’t already evident enough. Now it is our turn to attempt to make this world a better place; one where nobody is afraid to walk to their cars late at night, or feel that they can’t come forward about a sexual harassment or assault in fear of what others may think. Even if you aren’t a part of the problem, you can become a part of the solution. Be a safe haven for your friends and loved ones to confide in and feel protected by. Just simply try to make this world a better place.

Me too.

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