As I scrolled through all the “Me too” posts on my Facebook feed last night, I started to get confused.
The post reads, “Me too. If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. #MeToo.”
I don’t know if this social media movement will make a difference, but I don’t think it should be taken lightly. Women who have not been harassed or assaulted should be listening and offering support, not jumping on the bandwagon of a hashtag for the sake of politics. But the most important voices in this discussion, belong to men, not women.
When I see some friends post the status, I am genuinely surprised. These are girls who don’t typically post anything political or trendy, so to see their post made me wonder if they had been assaulted. Then I see the girls who typically post about victimization or feminism or other trendy political views, and I wondered if they had really been assaulted or harassed. One girl said she gets catcalled or harassed walking down the street but she hasn’t suffered much worse than that.
I begin trying to analyze and categorize these posts. I’m looking for the stories that really matter so I can have a reason for the righteous anger I know I should feel. But I don’t want to feel angry or compassionate for someone who equates their experience getting catcalled to the horror of being raped. I know the point of the “Me Too” movement was to show how widespread sexual assault and harassment are in our society. But the truth is, not every woman can say they have been assaulted or harassed. It is not right for women who have not experienced this to use the post as an opportunity to complain.
The most powerful posts were those posted by men. One of my friends recently became a father to a little girl. He posted about his eyes being opened to the problem of sexual assault as he tries to keep his daughter safe. Another older gentleman posted an apology to all the women whose stories he may have ignored or minimized throughout his lifetime. These posts are going to make the real difference.
Hopefully the “Me Too” movement will make men join together to hold each other accountable and speak against sexual assault. Social media has shown us a taste of how widespread sexual assault is, but what will have a greater impact is widespread support from men who are willing to stand up and say this is not OK.