#MeToo raises awareness on sexual assault


New York Times

Milanos original tweet, shared October 15, 2017.

When it comes to sexual assault, most people use hushed tones to speak about it. In recent weeks, all that has begun to change. Fed up that the cover up and secrecy of sexual assault seems to go unnoticed, actress Alyssa Milano began the #MeToo challenge to raise awareness of the abuse. Milano publicized her concern by tweeting, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” The original tweet received immediate response from Twitter users: going viral, trending, and receiving replies.
The #MeToo movement promptly spread to Facebook where 8.7 million and counting posted the hashtag. Facebook says over 45% of people in the United States are friends with someone who has posted #MeToo. Instagram was quick to catch on as well, with over 551,347 posts and counting linked to #MeToo.
These numbers are not surprising as one in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted in college. Rape is the most underreported crime, with 63% of sexual assault cases not reported to the police. Milano clearly had reason to urge women and men to speak up about their experiences.
Celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Gabrielle Union, Barry Crimmins, Anna Paquin, Javier Muñoz, and McKayla Maroney all told their stories via social media, using #MeToo.
Sanderson sophomore Rachel Crickmar believes that the alarming number of sexual assault cases is nothing to take lightly. “Women are taught to keep things quiet when it comes to what has happened to them, even though it happens to lots of girls. Speaking out can give those girls courage,” stated Crickmar.
Sanderson junior Maddie Blume agreed. “The trending ‘Me Too’ hashtag is important because countless numbers of people are victims of domestic abuse and rape. Being open about this will help victims recover by being able to have people supporting and helping them get out of abusive relationships,” she said.
As mentioned by Blume, help is just as important as awareness. If you or someone you know is in a threatening relationship of any sort, visit www.rainn.org for a confidential helpline, and other services provided to assist a victim in reaching safety.