It's been a dismal October across the board, but with the recent investigations into legendary Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's decades of sexual harassment and assault, it's been a tough time for women in particular.
While it's wonderful to see a predator exposed and taken down, it's been incredibly frustrating to hear how long it took for that to happen — and to hear how many men were "shocked" or "horrified" by the allegations. Women, unfortunately, are not shocked by these allegations. We know damn well sexual abuse happens all the time.
This led to the birth of the #MeToo hashtag: a way to shine a spotlight on the scale of sexual harassment and abuse.
Actress Alyssa Milano inspired the viral hashtag.
She encouraged people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to tweet "Me too," so people could get a "sense of the magnitude of the problem."
Of course, not everyone is a fan of the hashtag. Many worry it places all the responsibility on the victim.
A common refrain is "Why didn't you say anything?" when it comes to sexual assault. Women are demanded to speak up, even if they may not want to disclose this information. This hashtag could be viewed as yet another example of placing the onus on victims to publicly speak out, making them do all the work.
Not only that, but it's the same issue you see with men tweeting about "their daughters." You shouldn't have to know a victim to care about sexual harassment. It should horrify you even if you don't have a personal connection. There is enough proof out there that it's an absolutely awful, widespread issue. Those numbers should be more than enough!
Plus, didn't we come forward last year with #YesAllWomen after the Donald Trump "grab 'em by the pussy comments?" It may be a different hashtag, but it's the same argument: Yes, almost all of us experience this sexual harassment and abuse. It is a huge fucking deal. Please take it seriously.
Do we have to do this every year for it to finally sink in?
Still, the hashtag is well-intentioned, and it's empowering people to speak out — and that's always a good thing.
Women and men alike are being encouraged to share their stories with this hashtag, and that's a good thing. The more awareness there is to the prevalence of sexual abuse, the better. It helps remove the stigma of sexual assault, and it makes it clear to everyone just how serious of an issue this is, and how imperative it is we take a stand and believe women.
Let's just hope we don't have to keep coming up with hashtags year after year. Let's just hope people hear our voices and finally start believing women who come forward — even if that woman isn't a sister, a daughter, a partner, or a friend.