By Katy Siwirski

The Me Too Movement is a movement that is against sexual harassment and sexual assault. The movement began to spread in October 2017 as a hashtag on social media in an attempt to spread knowledge, reality, and overall prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, primarily in the workplace. The saying began showing up as early as 2006 when American activist Tarana Burke began using the phrase to spread awareness. In October 2017, the phrase was encouraged by actress Alyssa Milano, allowing victims to tweet to give people a sense of how big the problem really is.

According to a 2018 study done by HealthyDay.com, there is evidence that the #MeToo movement sparked more than mere conversation about sexual abuse in the United States. “On the afternoon of Oct. 15, 2017, Milano responded to public accusations of sexual harassment and assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein with a tweet sent to her followers: ‘If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.’” During this period, searches related to reporting sexual assault harassment were thirty percent higher than usual. Eighth months after the initiation of the hashtag, millions of victims are expected to reach out for help and support. The National Women’s Law Center created the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in January 2018, in the wake of #MeToo. Since this time, nearly 4,000 people have reached out, seeking assistance for workplace sexual harassment. According to trauma psychologist Karestan Koenen, “sharing one’s sexual assault experiences can be very validating and healing for people, but beyond that, what we want to see is change.”

According to the New York Times, an event called “I’m a Straight Male. Now What?” took place in the beginning of 2018. It was “branded as a place for men to ‘unpack aggression’ and share ‘not-so-politically correct thoughts’ in the midst of the cultural movement that has become highly politicized.” This was a group of ten men, ranging in age from twenty to fifty, with one woman in the group, who promised not to speak. This took place in a small event studio in downtown Manhattan. Participant Bryan Stacy, the co-founder of a sexual health app, encouraged the participants to tap into their feeling as a way to release lingering frustration, anger, fear, or confusion. There was an important acknowledgment that men are, in fact, important allies in the #MeToo Movement. Men have the ability to call out bad behavior when they see it. The men also were curious as to how they would participate without being seen an intrusion to a woman’s voice. Overall, readers wished to see more discussion in how men are supposed to behave in various situations, and especially how both men and women can flirt and pursue without frightening the other party. I can only hope that more groups like this are held in the future to spread more awareness and diverse culture about how men and women treat each other in the workplace.

The Me Too Movement is a social media movement that is against sexual harassment and sexual assault. Multiple studies and researches have been done to show the affects of this movement on today’s culture and society. Just because you are a male in today’s world, doesn’t mean you need to be looked down on. This is just as much a woman’s game as it is a man’s game. Be cautious about your actions, and take responsibility for those actions. #MeToo

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