“Me Too is a movement, not a moment.”
These are some powerful words said by Tarana Burke, who stood up against sexual violence in 2006. She was the first to use the phrase “Me Too” to raise awareness of women who had been abused.
This Movement is now famous worldwide, as it has given voice to hundreds of thousands of female victims. One of the biggest effects of the #Metoo Movement has been to show the world how almost every single woman has gone through harassment, assault, and other misconduct in this world full of predators.
Leveraging the power of social media, women are now able to share their stories. The stories which were buried under shock and distressing experiences not too long ago.
How Did the #MeToo Movement Start?
Originally, Me too Movement was founded in 2006 by an American activist Tarana Burke. It was built on the ideology of supporting survivors of sexual violence. The main focus was to protect the rights of black and brown girls. As the movement spread, hundreds of older women and even men became a part of it to support the cause.
The me too Movement was started to help people understand what community action looks like in the fight to end sexual violence. It is about survivors supporting survivors and community healing.
Most people believe that the Me Too Movement is all about going online and tweeting about your harsh experiences with men. While in reality, it is so much more than that. One part of the Movement focuses on providing victims a platform to speak, while the other part is around community action. The members of this Movement firmly believe that we can organize around ending sexual violence.
Tarana Burke noticed that this conversation needs to be elevated to a social justice issue if we want to end violence. Another misconception that surrounds the #Me Too Movement is a women’s Movement. It is a movement for survivors, including men, women, girls, and children.
How Did Me too Movement Become a Global Movement?
The Me Too movement was only famous in some areas of the United States before 2017 when Alyssa Milano encouraged the use of this hashtag. This happened when accusations against the renowned American film producer Harvey Weinstein surfaced throughout the internet.
When Milano tweeted using the hashtag, over 200,000 people tweeted by the end of the day using the hashtag and describing their story. These thousands of people included celebrities, men, women, and young girls. This Movement shed light on many other topics such as gender-based differences and improvement of sexual harassment policies.
Saying that the Me Too movement has redefined sexual harassment would not be wrong. Not so long ago, people did not consider unwanted sexual comments, non-verbal, and non-physical forms of sexual harassment.
This Movement has allowed people to broaden their horizons by letting them know what sexual harassment means. Sexual assault is the most common kind of sexual harassment, and is characterized by sexual contact of any kind without consent. Thanks to the International Me Too movement, even the little girls nowadays know about consent.
What Has the Me Too Movement Changed So Far?
In a dominant male society, the Me Too movement has emerged as a life safer for different communities and genders. It’s been three years since the trial of American producer Harvey Weinstein, but what has changed since then?
Well, according to several actresses and models in Hollywood, the industry has become a better and safer place. The Movement has encouraged lots of survivors to come forward and confront their harassers. This confrontation has resulted in potential harassers fearing the consequences of their actions.
Other than the improvement of mindset on a personal level, this Movement has forced governments to take action on previously ignored issues. Listed below are some examples of such activities.
Banning of nondisclosure agreement covering sexual harassment
Most powerful men in the industry back their disgusting actions by nondisclosure agreements. This is a way to buy the silence of the less fortunate people. The nondisclosure agreement means that whatever happens to the employee, she/he would not disclose the experiences to anyone in their circle or media.
After the cases of sexual harassment at workplaces came under light, several states prohibited the use of nondisclosure agreements in sexual misconduct cases. These new laws are making it easy for the victims to speak up for themselves and against the harassers.
Sexual harassment protection
Most states’ laws do not offer any sexual harassment protection to the people who work as independent contracts or are self-employed. This includes the people who work as home cleaners, caretakers, and millions of domestic and farmworkers.
Such people are likely to be the victims of sexual harassment as they are the easy targets. But in many areas, it has started to change. The USA has improved protections for domestic works and independent contractors in recent years.
Reforms of Congress
Previously, the victims had to wait for 90 days to report misconduct. That law changed a couple of years ago, considering that it gave the harassers in congress time to settle the matter using money. Some improvements need to be made in the law, such as providing the staffers with the guaranteed legal counsel.
Several representatives of congress have been accused of harassing people sexually. There is a need to introduce laws that prevent people from misusing their power. This is a good step towards it.