In light of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the brave voices that came forward against the sexual harassment they endured, the Twitter campaign #MeToo launched and immediately took the internet by storm. Starting on Twitter and spreading across all social media platforms, men and women came forward to share their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. If the pervasiveness of this issue wasn’t already apparent before, the #MeToo campaign made it clear to all the naysayers and created a space for people to share their experiences. And while some were quick to question the validity of a fleeting social media trend, #MeToo stands for so much more than a hashtag on the trending page.
Scrolling through my Facebook page in the days following the initial start of the #MeToo campaign, I found my feed was full of lengthy statuses from women detailing the sexual harassment they’ve endured. As I sat there, reading status after status from women I’ve known for years, I was shocked. Yes, we know this happens. However, truly seeing the magnitude of the issue through social media posts was alarming to say the least. What continued to eat away at me as I scrolled was the fact that, while so many women did feel safe enough to share their stories, there are still so many who feel too ashamed to do the same. Yet, with each post I read, a community of supportive allies became apparent, inspiring more people to share their stories with each new tweet and status. If you didn’t already know, this is the power of social media.
This isn’t the first time women (and men) have raised their voices to spark change. Most recently, the Women’s March on January 21st, 2017 started with an event on Facebook and quickly swept the nation. People flocked from far and wide to march in Washington, and other marches took place across America and in major cities across the world. A campaign that launched on Facebook promoting solidarity for women’s rights gained so much momentum, it drew half a million people to D.C. The numbers are undeniable, and so is the power of these tools.
While the #MeToo hashtag is no longer trending, it’s left a mark on all of us. The stories we’ve read from our childhood friends, classmates, neighbors and family members will not be forgotten and have sparked conversations that for too long were hushed. Whether this campaign serves as another step in the right direction or we see immediate, tangible change, there are undeniable benefits from raising your voice through social media. #MeToo will stand in history as so much more than a viral trend; it’s a cry for help, an opposition to injustice and a community for those who have endured the unimaginable.
We are in the midst of a revolution – a time where we can no longer afford to walk silently through life and allow society to continue down the same path. #MeToo is more crucial now as the man who serves as president so blatantly disregards women’s issues and has even been accused of sexual harassment himself. With so much power in his hands, now more than ever, we need these voices, standing together as one against those perpetuating the issue. We need to remain strong, continue to speak out and stand against those who don’t have our best interests in mind. Most importantly, we need to be able to rely on one another.
All the tools we need are right at our fingertips and it’s time we use them – not for Twitter rants and tirades – but for good.