The “Me Too” social media campaign has touched and depressed me more than I thought possible.
My entire Facebook feed was all of my friends and peers posting they had been sexually harassed or assaulted. The politicians who inspire me, my co-workers and fellow students posted they had been sexually harassed or assaulted.
Me too, on Aug. 26, 2015.
The women who posted are only the tip of the iceberg, and as we saw, our close peers. They have touched us and made sexual assault and harassment personal.
It feels like this foreign idea could never happen to you. Sexual assault was among my long list of things that I had never believed would happen to me. I thought I was just as likely to be eaten by a shark, struck by lightning or murdered in the slums of Richfield, Ohio, (please laugh).
I never thought it would be me.
I am hoping this campaign will successfully reframe how we systematically deal with sexual assault and harassment. To get at the roots, the way by which we treat women in society bears the brutal reality we are less respected in the workplace, in the home and in society.
Harvey Weinstein brings forth a common reality for so many women who feared their place in society by coming forward. We must do better for women.
Call it feminism or don’t, but this is a women’s rights issue that needs solved immediately.
Why is it that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill to help survivors of sexual assault get justice fails at the hands of men? Why is it that Betsy DeVos, a woman (human, I think), rescinds protections for survivors of sexual assault on campuses and the “Dear Colleague” letters to ensure protection in the workplace? When one in five women are survivors of rape or attepted rape on college campuses, how is it possible that we have seen no further action to make these instances less frequent?
Women are taught to expect sexual harassment, especially in the workplace. Women are taught this is normal, that it is something that men just do. These themes are propelled by Hollywood and the entertainment industry. There is no justice, no equal protection for women.
According to the Department of Justic, sexual assault is defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipent.
My heart is so heavy for all of my dear friends who have opened up about their stories and brought themselves into the forefront of this systemic gendered issue.
I was raped my first week on campus as a freshman. Classes hadn’t even started yet. I was doing nothing wrong. I was small, cute, vulnerably young and female.
Madison Newingham is a columnist, contact her at [email protected]