#MeToo Movement, Standing Up Against Sexual Assault

By Selena Leon

MeToo Movement has enveloped the nation in recent months shining light on sexual assault, abuse and misconduct women face. Their stories are powerful and their collective voices are saying #NoMore.

“For too long survivors of sexual assault and harassment have been in the shadows,” wrote Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo Movement, in a press release on the organization’s website. “We need a complete cultural transformation if we are to eradicate sexual assault in our lifetimes. It means we must build our families differently, engage our communities and confront some of our long-held assumptions about ourselves.”

According to the MeToo Movement’s website, since 1998 there have been 17.7 million women who have reported being sexual assaulted.

“In 2006, Burke founded the movement to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low-wealth communities, find pathways to healing,” as stated on the website. The goal was to let survivors know they aren’t alone in their journey.

Frankie Hanache, College of Southern Nevada student, said, “Survivors have a platform and a community of people that will have their backs if they have ever experienced such atrocities. It gives the nation a sense of hope that they aren’t the only ones going through it.”

“If you have been on social media since October 2017 it is hard not to see multiple stories from millions of women who have shared their personal experiences of sexual harassment and assault while on the job,” said DeAnna Beachley, Ph.D. professor of U.S. history and women’s studies at CSN.

Beachley said that the importance of the movement can be seen in several ways. One way is the sheer numbers of women coming forward and participating by telling their stories. It’s shocking.

Additionally, the focus on Hollywood’s cover-ups shook the establishment. In particular Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged sexual harassment and assault in which dozens of women came forward with claims against the movie mogul. This story took over the media’s agenda for weeks. Many more in Hollywood have been let go of their jobs including Matt Lauer and Kevin Spacey for alleged behaviors.

Beyond Hollywood’s “casting-couch culture” Beachley also mentioned that other workplaces can be problematic as many women experience harassment while on the job.

Beachley said, “The #MeToo Movement has the potential for forcing industries to alter and change their practices. As the stories have revealed, the systems in place often protect the abusers and enable multiple cases of abuse to occur. There is a growing intolerance for maintaining that status quo and protecting abusers.”

Beyond the workplace, others are participating in the MeToo Movement with a goal of sharing their stories and helping others.

“I, too, am a survivor of sexual violence starting from childhood through adolescence, as well as partner sexual violence,” said Erica Padilla, CSN student. “The most shocking revelation I had when I started reaching out for help was that this tragedy is more common than I would like to know. Sexual violence holds no prejudice to gender, age, class or sexual orientation. Such an ordeal can plague one’s life. Shame, guilt and helplessness are defeated by love, the patience to heal and helping other sexual assault survivors.”

For these reason, the MeToo Movement holds tremendous value and people like Padilla have a place for healing.

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