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How to support the #MeToo movement

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#MeToo

#MeToo

Jeffrey Garcia

Jeffrey Garcia

#MeToo

Zaynab Hossain

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The #MeToo movement is an ongoing movement where dozens of famous figures have revealed their past experiences with sexual misconduct. The internet responded with a mixture of shock, disbelief and support. Since then, hundreds of people have used the hashtag #MeToo to show that the people who came out are not alone, and to show that the problem was much more widespread than many originally believed. Of course, many Twitter users cracked their knuckles and aggressively went to work on their keyboards beginning debates of all sorts, but it’s safe to say that a majority of people are finally starting to look at things differently.

A common question asked among people is, “How can I help?”

Here’s how.

1. Recognize and understand the target and full purpose of #MeToo 

Everyone can agree that this movement is a feminist one, and feminists promote gender equality. #MeToo gives space to anyone who has been sexually harassed to share their experience or bring attention to the issue of rape culture.

We must understand that targeting rape culture means targeting the toxic masculinity it came from, not men themselves. So if a man tries to join the movement by putting the hashtag in their status, give them the same amount of understanding you would give a woman. We can’t pick and choose what kind of victims we do and don’t support.

We can’t expect that men will break from toxic masculinity associated with power, from rape culture, from all of those social constructs we’re always discussing, and which are to blame for the problem of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse being widespread and accepted, if when they try to do so, we tell them they’re not allowed. Yes, women are subjected to misconduct more often than men, but we’re never going to fix any of this by treating sexual harassment, assault, and abuse as problems that exclusively belong to those who are most systemically subjected to them. There is no harm in being inclusive.

2. Listen and simply put, just support

When you see a story with the hashtag on your news feed, take a minute to read it. Before you even think about commenting anything other than words of support, think twice. Then think a third time. Just keep thinking until you realize it’s a bad idea. People who have made themselves vulnerable by telling about what are probably the darkest moments of their lives don’t need anymore rocks thrown at them. Your support makes a bigger difference than you know. According to rapevictimadvocates.org, “In studies of sexual assault survivors, receiving social support has been associated with many positive outcomes, including positive life change and growth as well as reduced PTSD and depressive symptoms”.

3. Learn the phrase “not cool”

Say it to anyone who says anything disrespectful or degrading about anyone, be it a man, woman, or someone who is gender fluid. Things like “she/he’s a person, not an object” will also suffice.

4. Educate yourself

Even if you think you’re an expert on the rules of consent, it never hurts to go over them again. There may be some things you never realized shouldn’t be allowed, which is what happens a lot. Understand the movement completely and learn about the history about feminism. Listen to speeches and keep up with the news. The first step to fixing the issue is educating ourselves and people around us.

5. Don’t give elders a free pass

An “old fashioned” sexist comment from an older relatve at a fmily party may seem harmless, but it is little things like that that feed societal flaws fueling rape culture. Call out racism, sexism and homphobia regardless of the age of the offender.

6. Free kids from gender stereotypes

For boys, show that traits society generally views as “feminine” are actually valuable. Praise gentleness and senstvity in boys, and if a girl wants to yell in a loud voice, don’t let your reason for telling her to be quiet be “it isn’t ladylike.”

7. Consent!!!

If your partner hesitates, stops reciprocating, avoids eye contact, becomes quiet, tense or frozen, or otherwise slows the tempo of any sexual encounter, then you should stop what you’re doing. The rule in the old book is “keep going unless the other person yells stop.”

“Some survivors experience flashbacks or painful memories while engaging in sexual activity, even though it is consensual and on their own terms,” according to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. This might cause the person to freeze up and be physically unable to tell the other person to stop. So just play it safe and pay attention to your partner, ceasing what you’re doing if you notice their enthusiasticness doesn’t match your own.

8. If you see it, don’t let it slide

“Silence is just as revolting as an offender’s actions.”- Max Leach of The Odyssey

1 Comment

One Response to “How to support the #MeToo movement”

  1. Marchele Alber on February 21st, 2018 8:38 am

    #MeToo

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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