The Power of the #MeToo Movement

maya

Somebody is shaking up this earth. Someone very powerful. YOU.

Ever since the Weinstein allegations, hundreds and thousands of people are coming forward with their stories of sexual abuse. It’s one of the most incredible movements that is going on right now. All over the world people are empowering one another on a topic unlike anything experienced in history. The #MeToo movement is unlike anything we have experienced in unison before. I encourage you to open your eyes and read the stories if you haven’t done so already.

So why now might you ask? How did one man suddenly spark a movement on sexual harassment and abuse when (we know) it has been going on for hundreds of years all over the world? Let the power of social media show you just how powerful it can be.

Initially it was created by Tarana Burke ten years ago as a way to connect with others who had been in a similar situation. Then, Alyssa Milano posted a tweet signaling anyone else to speak up if they had been in sexually abused/harassed. Many celebrities and countless of others have spoken up and it has now captured the attention of millions.

People all over the world are courageously breaking their silence. They are tearing down their own walls and, in a small way, seeking help.These people are not only acknowledging what has happened to them, but they are turning to and recognizing others who have been in a similar boat with them. Realizing they are not alone, which is empowering and healing. Finally,they are standing up for themselves and others. To say that this is remarkable would be an understatement.

However, we are not done just yet. The magnitude of these problems hasn’t even reached its peak. In fact, it’s terrifying to even think of how many more people out there that have yet to speak their story.

To get more of an insight on sexual abuse, let’s look at the statistics to get a deeper look on how often these instances occur:

  • According to the RAINN, an American organization against sexual assault, every 98 seconds someone is abused, and every 8 minutes that someone is a child. To give you a peek at the severity, that’s one in every six women. So, if you know 6 women, one of them may have encountered a situation where sexual abuse was attempted and/or succeeded.

And that’s just in the United States, which is 1 out of 195 countries. Just imagine the severity of this in other places around the world, especially those without any laws or regard for women.

Many who have experienced this sort of trauma normally tend to stay quiet for a variety of reasons. Mostly shame, thinking it was all their fault. Other reasons could include not wanting to get the perpetrator in trouble. Or, perhaps, it was normal to have happened to them. Maybe it was because it was something they wore, which consequently meant to others that, ‘she’s asking for it.’ Or perhaps they wanted to move higher in their careers which were primarily dominated by men but they had to do a ‘little extra’ to climb up that ladder. Maybe even telling themselves that they were just simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.

WRONG. This wasn’t your fault. Reiterate that in your head repeatedly.

We shouldn’t have to be afraid to travel to other places or limit ourselves in the endeavors we want to achieve. Men shouldn’t think that meeting up for a drink with someone new they just met is the same thing as an open invitation to do whatever they want to them. Because somehow, along the way, someone hasn’t taught them what the word ‘no’ meant, or perhaps, they just never bothered to learn it. No female (or anyone for that matter) should ever have to find themselves in such a position.

So, now what?

Now that we are (finally) waking up, we are recognizing and standing up for one another, we are sympathizing with one another and we need to continue that. We need to continue to encourage and support each other about this issue so we can begin to solve this issue. Everyone is affected somehow by sexual abuse/harassment; women, men, children, gay, straight, bi, trans, all the above. Everyone. And if you don’t think you’re affected by this I’m sure you can ask one of the 6 females that you are closest to if they have ever been a victim.

It’s about time the world realizes the magnitude of such an alarming issue that somehow wasn’t properly recognized prior to the Weinstein allegations. We are just now opening the package of this very important underlying issue on the abuse. And it’s coming directly from the women, teenagers, and others who are brave enough to come forward with their stories. Trust me, this isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning.

So I’m calling on everybody. We need to stand together and stand up for one another. Because under no circumstance should anyone ever have to find themselves in an uncomfortable situation like this. No one ever deserves to live with such trauma. I encourage all of you to speak up and to speak to others.  Because you too deserve to get help with something that nobody should ever have to endure. Because you deserve to be properly loved and to be at peace about it.

This movement is just the beginning. There are many walls that must be torn down to really get to the bottom of this issue and start making a change. Which, in my opinion, begins with the way that a lot of men objectify women.

If you are a victim or you know someone that is, the best thing you can tell yourself or them repeatedly is this, “it is NOT your fault.” Say it a million times and a million more if you don’t believe it yet. When someone abuses you, it’s a VIOLATION of your rights. Which means, that there are repercussions that should be held against the violator.

You are incredible and you have more courage than you could ever imagine. At least one person in this world loves you, and if you don’t think it’s anyone, then it’s me!

And in case you haven’t guessed already, #metoo.

 

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there is help available 24/7: Call (866)-488-7386 or visit https://www.rainn.org/ and chat with someone for more information.

 

 

Looking for a good book to empower yourself? Check out some great reads below!

One comment on “The Power of the #MeToo Movement”

  1. Jill Maderer says:

    Olya! I am really moved by this article and what you are doing–terrific, impactful writing! Your dad shared your outstanding post with me after hearing my sermon from this shabbat: https://rodephshalom.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/the-tower-of-babel-anita-hill-unchecked-power-and-the-metoos-of-sexual-harassment/

    Hope you’re doing well–Rabbi Maderer

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