Why #MeToo is a step in the right direction but still has ways to go

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Yesterday, two simple words dominated my Facebook and Twitter feeds in a rally cry against sexual harassment and assault: “me too.” My fellow Brown students participated in this phenomenon, copying and pasting the same phrase.

It’s astonishing to see how many brave women have participated in #metoo and it’s incredibly important that everyone respects a person’s choice to post. However, although social media trends such as these are unifying and inspiring, they are not without innocuous consequences.

In this case, many women who have experienced sexual assault or harassment may feel social media peer pressure to share their stories, and may be triggered by the onslaught of posts on their various social media platforms. Also, uninformed viewers of this trend may assume that their friend was not a survivor because they decided not to share their story.

It’s also important to note that the trend only refers to women, despite the fact that both men and non-binary people are also victims of sexual harassment and assault.

For me, #MeToo is a double-edged sword. While I am inspired and empowered by the courage it takes to post a #MeToo status, I am simultaneously wary that the phenomenon as a whole fails to address some key issues. Most of all, it saddens me that so many people in this country and around the world are still incredibly oblivious to the amount of survivors of sexual assault; female, male, and non-binary alike.

All stories deserve recognition. All experiences are valid. Everyone in our society has a responsibility to support survivors, both those who decide to post a #MeToo status and those who did not.

Brown University