HOW TO RESPOND TO #METOO

Nov. 15: The Roar Staff Editorial

Imagine this: being touched without consent, being talked to in a manner that you do not consider being appropriate, being forced into a sexual act, not having the ability to say no. Many women and men in America do not have to imagine these scenarios. They were forced to live them. They know them.  

Harvey Weinstein sexually abused several women in his career. People in Hollywood knew about it. They joked about it. They did nothing to stop it. Then, the females that had suffered for years with the knowledge of what had happened to them and to others began to speak out.  

Many have responded to these accusations with the question, “why now?” while they should have been asking, “why not now?” The victims have been silenced for too long.  

Whatever their reason may have been: social pressure, worry over their career, rape culture, etc., it does not matter. They are speaking now, and we should all be aware of the frequency of sexual assault and how victims are treated.  

As a woman, I believe whole-heartedly in Tarana Burke’s “Me Too” campaign to spread that awareness.  

We need to take a stand to speak out and build each other up. We do not need to question what took a victim so long to speak up, and we do not need to question their motives behind outing their abusers.  

Our society is too focused on current beauty standards and what the latest social media trends are. We need to be focusing on what has always been an issue and will continue being an issue until it is fully addressed: sexual assault.  

That is why #metoo is a cause to applaud. Women are reaching out to tell others who have had similar traumatizing experiences that they are not alone.  

This hashtag connected women from all aspects of life, including celebrities in the entertainment industry. Women have been tweeting and recounting their own experiences and knowledge of sexual assault. They are spreading the word about the severity of modern rape culture and encouraging women to stand up against it.  

Sexual assault is not fun or sexy. It is harmful and has long-lasting effects that are often invisible to onlookers.  

Asking a victim what they were wearing or why they did not speak up earlier about their assault can be devastating to them. Instead, encourage them by listening and being a supportive ally.  

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, you are not alone. People are working every day to make things better.  

They are working to bring attention to the topic. There are more and more resources appearing every day for you to take advantage of. 

Do not give up.