As we all know, in the 21st century, the popularity of the hashtag has grown to become an every day part of our language. The hashtag is what makes us aware of movements, trends and what is happening across the world. What may be known as one of the most famous hashtags ever came about in 2016, starting a movement that changed the world. This was #MeToo.
One of the most powerful hashtags to emerge in recent years was #MeToo, spanning into a huge movement that helps fight sexual assault by giving voice to survivors. The phrase Me Too actually began in 2006 by Tarana Burke, who founded the Me Too movement to spread awareness about assault in communities of colour. The phrase was used as a reminder to survivors that they were not alone. The hashtag itself entered popular culture when actress Alyssa Milano addressed the dominance of sexual harassment in America. She tweeted, “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as their status, we might just give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Since 2016, the tweet has garnered 61,000 replies, a number which definitely highlights the extent of this problem. Milano’s tweet took off in the wake of multiple accusations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Accusations against Weinstein and his alleged harassments included high profile actresses including Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Cara Delevingne.
The movement is so important, as it is about giving people a voice, allowing them to speak up, so they can create a community of survivors. The founders of MeToo believe in a policy known as “power through empathy”, as it is crucial that survivors do not think they are alone.
The movement has been around since 2006, and the hashtag gained dominance ten years later. Yet, we are still talking about the magnitude of this problem. People continue to come forward saying, “Me too”. Sexual assault is still prevalent in our society, and it is necessary that we, as individuals, support those with the bravery to speak out about their experiences. More importantly, if you yourself are a victim of sexual assault, remember that you are not alone, and have an entire community of survivors standing with you.