The Background of #MeToo Movement
The #MeToo movement went viral in October 2017. This was a hashtag that spread on social media that allegedly helps victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. The principle of the movement is to remind victims that they are not alone in their experiences. This movement became known after the sexual misconduct news that broke out against Harvey Weinstein.
The phrase originated from the MySpace social media platform, started by Tarana Burke. Her goal was to help survivors know that they aren’t the only ones who went through instances of sexual assault. Additionally, it aimed to address how pervasive the problem is, and how some women try to keep their silence due to fear. The phrase caught fire and spread on other social media platforms, mainly Twitter. Many women, including high-profile celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lawrence, Lady Gaga, and Ellen DeGeneres have voiced their support. Often the #MeToo hashtag was accompanied by a short personal story of their experiences with sexual harassment.
What #MeToo Movement Did
Provides a Voice for Those Who Felt They Had None.
The #MeToo movement provided a virtual platform for women to speak up and talk about their experiences. This gave courage for women to step forward and support each other. It opened doors for others to be aware of how common sexual harassment is; especially in the workplace. This awareness inspired hope that eventually these hidden incidents will be brought to light.
Chronic Offenders are Brought to Justice.
Sexual offenders who repeat their actions over the years were now exposed because of the movement. It was important for people to understand that sexual misconduct is a criminal offense that shouldn’t be treated lightly. Having the #MeToo movement discouraged repeat offenders and hopefully caused potential offenders to discontinue their acts.
Balance of Power is Shifting.
Often sexual offenders do what they do as a form of exerting their power over their victims. Through the movement, the power is now transferred from the offender to the victims. It has been a comforting thought that those who fell into the trap of these offenders can gain control and stop the situation.
Being Able to Talk About an Uncomfortable Yet Important Issue.
It is difficult to talk about sexual harassment. It implies the feeling of guilt, embarrassment, and low self-esteem. During the rise of the #MeToo movement, people have been able to talk about these issues more openly.
Is the #MeToo Movement All For Good?
Many would claim that the #MeToo movement aims to help women across the globe share their voice and empower others whose voices have been silenced. However, is this something that is beneficial for all?
The truth is, a lot of people are looking into this cause through rose-colored glasses. On another side of the coin, there’s an ugly truth behind this trend that started after the Weinstein allegations.
The Ugly Side of #MeToo
The Mob mentality Behind Accusations
Not all accusations are true. In fact, for any accusation to be enforceable, it must be proven in a legal court. Before anyone becomes a sexual offender, it must be proven properly with physical and circumstantial evidence. The #MeToo movement opened a platform where a supposed victim can accuse someone of harassment and can inspire verbal abuse and threats directed toward the accused.
Reputations Are Tainted Before Evidence is Shown.
Many accusations are directed towards high profile men who have their names and careers to protect. The #MeToo movement caused these men to suffer irreparable damage to their reputations even before their cases were brought to court. While it is important to give victims a voice, it is also vital that these accusations be fully investigated before the mob mentality goes too far.
Invasion of Victim Privacy
Some victims prefer to keep silent. This is not because they are afraid, or ashamed. They prefer to keep silent because it is their way to cope and protect their privacy. However, the #MeToo movement pressured some of these women to feel the need to speak up even if they felt uncomfortable to do so. Their ‘safe space’ is invaded against their will, especially if they are victims of repeat offenders. This causes shame and anxiety towards the individual’s predicament.
Empowering victims of sexual harassment is always a worthy cause. However, one should consider the implications of the way they are being empowered. Not all means can bring a favorable result. This goes for the #MeToo movement. All these victims have their rights, but like them, those they accused have their own rights as well.
Noelle Neff is an accomplished journalist and avid photographer. She has covered a wide array of topics but has developed a particular interest in technology and how it affects our everyday lives. Noelle believes that while technology is intended to make our lives easier, it also presents unique challenges to how we interact and impacts how we view the world around us.