#MeToo was on all social media platforms these past couple of days. Women all around the globe shared their stories or simply shared the hashtag, hoping to spread the word around. It seemed for the first time in nearly forever, perpetrators were being called out.
It felt like maybe this will be the change everyone was hoping for. #MeToo had the makings of being a truly revolutionary turn of a new page. But can a mere trending hashtag on social media, make all this happen in a far from Utopian world?
Me Too was a female rights campaign for minority women that was first founded by Tarana Burke in 2006. However, actress/singer Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If all women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”. And as she correctly assumed, women took to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to voice the secrets they’ve kept for so long.
This simple hashtag kindled women’s rights activities in other countries such as India, Pakistan, Israel and Spain. France even went to the limit of discussing whether or not it should come with legislation.
The number of women that confessed to have been assaulted was staggering. (Although it should come as no surprise that so many women were harassed) But there’s an important note to consider here: to every victim, there is a perpetrator. and it is not enough for women to come out and relive their tragic histories if the men won’t own up to their horrible doing.
#MeToo should not get the same fate as #NotOkay or #YesAllWomen. Women can do everything in their power, but it will all be futile in a society that condones and excuses sexual assault. The duty has to fall to men to make sure the number of women that continue to suffer, go down.
Some men have already started their own trends, such as #ItWasMe and #IHave to express their remorse and apologies. Men have sworn that they will not push women for sexual favors anymore. But this alone would not be sufficient to decrease yet alone eradicate sexual harassment and assault.
For #MeToo to work men should,
- Listen to women
- Know that “boys will be boys”, cant apply to everyday life
- Talk amongst each other about the fate of women
- Learn and practice consent
Maybe in a perfect Utopia, one day, sexual harassment, assault and abuse of all kinds would be just another page in the history book.