Unless you've been living under a rock with no social media for the past week, you would have seen the hashtag "me too" flooding every single platform on the world wide web. (For those that don't know) Basically, in response to the Harvey Winestein scandal, Alyssa Milano posted a tweet which encouraged all those who have experienced sexual harassment to post #metoo on a post. The response from this simple tweet has spanned across every social media site you can envision, with people sharing their own experiences, reaching out for support and standing in solidarity with other supporters. I wish I could say this is an incredible result, but the reality of the whole situation is incredibly heartbreaking - how have we let it get this bad? One positive which may derive from the frankly quite disturbing movement is the power which it has to break this disgusting culture of silence which glues shut the mouths of sexual harassment and rape victims. 

If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n

— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017

 

Incipiently, scrolling through my Twitter and Instagram timelines to discover that the vast majority of girls have experienced such cataclysmic moments gave me a heavy heart. But not actually all that surprising - how many times has a female friend complained to you about somebody being completely inappropriate to them? I soon realised that every girl has experienced their own Weinstein in their life, whether it's at home, work, on the street or online. 

And whilst the hashtag definitely introduced solicitude, the undertone of it definitely said something more along the lines of "we will not be silent" more than "we are not alone". Powerful and I imagine, gladly, quite terrifying to anybody who sees guilt when they look in the mirror. The words "me too" completely speak for themselves, being specific enough to invoke such an impact, but vague enough that no triggering, personal details are expressed. It opened waves of discussion about the off-putting numbers of women who have been assaulted, the support male victims of sexual assault are given and how men should react to such things. ​

 

A post shared by @_art_psycho on Oct 21, 2017 at 9:38am PDT

 

 

For example, I've noticed for the first time with any remotely 'feminist' online movement, men aren't arguing against us - they're listening. And no longer is the narrative "wow, that could have been my daughter or sister" it's "wow, I can't believe women go through this, how can we change it?". Of course, anybody with a slight bit of knowledge about the world doesn't believe generalised claims and nobody thinks that every single man is some kind of predator, but the way men (and women) react to disturbing stories about other harassment usually speaks volumes. The Me Too movement has put into direct attention that the focus of change should not be put on victims but the attackers. 

As is the case with every social media activist hashtag, the real goal is to make an ingrained offline change. The discussion will carry on for months and "me too" simply cannot solve big issues or implement any real-life change, but it can help people to cultivate a strong-voiced discussion about sexual harassment which challenges the very loud opposition. Right now it might seem like just a hashtag, but if it helps to dismantle the conspiracy of silence placed on sexual harassment, then it is so much more than anybody could ever imagine.