Over a decade ago, a black woman by the name of Tarana Burke founded a movement known as “Me Too” to help unify the victims of sexual assault and harassment. This week and last, some of the most powerful women in the world – Angelina Jolie, Resse Witherspoon, America Ferrara, Rose McGowan, and Gwyneth Paltrow (just to name a few) – came forward saying “Me Too” as they shared their own stories of sexual harassment and assault. Social media feeds began to flood with those two small words – what does this mean? what two worlds? maybe it should read with other women opening up about their stories , but behind them was a world of women whose silenced sexual assaults and harassments were finally being courageously unearthed. For some of them, it may even have been the first time.
I am one of those Me Toos, and as my feed blew up with hashtags of #MeToo, I still struggled to write those words because the private shame of those experiences had taught me that they were just that — private, a personal problem, my problem. But the beauty of the resounding echoes of Me Toos is that we are all finally able to see beyond the veil of individual shame. It’s not a private wound, it is a crystal clear calling for collective healing.
At TLLC we stand with all our ladies and say #MeToo. Here are a few ways to navigate our brave new world.
1. Add your personal #METOO — or don’t.
Although as empowering as the admissions can be, for some of us, these discussions can also trigger a whole world of emotions surrounding memories of assault or harassment you may not be ready to hold. Remember, it’s your body, your story, and the power of your narrative will always belongs to you, so do with it as you wish.
2. Keep the hashtag alive
Regardless of whether you have a “me too,” choose to add it, or would rather not, the beauty of the movement is that it finally gives room to both women and men to discuss a narrative of suppression. As with all things trending, the tide too will turn, so be as proactive as you can now and keep the hashtag alive: share posts, chime in when you can, and positively support all the ones who have also shared.
3. Join the original Me Too movement.
Tarana Burke, the woman that originated the movement years ago, has been doing the tireless work and will continue to do so when the social media currents shift. Join forces with her by giving her your support here, so that we make this shift away form suppression, shame, and silencing a permanent one. Welcome to our brave new world.
4. Raise your kids right.
As this generation aims to course-correct the behavior of power abusers, it’s important to recognize that the greatest potential for change lies in a new generation of children: Raise boys that know, in every way, what it means to respect a woman—to treat her with the upmost regard for her human potential, not her sexual potential. Raise girls that know their value does not come from their sex appeal, and who understand that when someone harasses or assaults them, they immediately call it out as wrong. If we plant these seeds early, we have the hope of arriving at the fullest versions of our true and authentic feminine and masculine power, a world we’ve not yet lived in.