Malia Savella | firstname.lastname@example.org | October 7, 2018
Last October started off with sexual misconduct allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, taking the press by a storm. In response, actress Alyssa Milano reintroduced the phrase “me too” to social media, a phrase coined by activist Tarana Burke to encourage solidarity among sexual abuse survivors. Victims of both entertainment figures and average-Joe sexual abusers took to Twitter to share their stories. One year later, the movement has forever shifted the conversation around consent and accountability, including that within d.tech.
Students know it most by the its Twitter presence; junior Jackson Drewes sees it in “just Twitter… I know people are always talking about it”. Twitter remains the home base of #metoo, in the forms of full-length stories or a hashtag planted in someone’s bio. While mostly contained to social media, the movement has had its fair share of news coverage. “I’ve heard a lot more about [sexual assault] on the news and stuff”, says freshman Iona Pratt-Bauman. “Just how it’s been happening more often or in they’re trying to stop it from happening.”
The past year has come with many wavering public opinions. For instance, the perception of men in the entertainment business has significantly soured, following allegations against figures like Weinstein, Louis CK, and James Franco. “All their stuff with like, Kevin Spacey and all those people… I think if the me too movement wasn’t a thing, that definitely would have gone differently,” comments Drewes.
For most, though, the reaction was plain shock. Senior Julia Reid saw a drastic change in her understanding of rape culture. “It definitely changed my perception of the breadth of the issue,” says Reid. “Like, how deeply rooted it is in our society… this stuff happens all the time at like, high school parties [and] mostly to girls, and it’s applicable to the setting”, she says, suggesting that this could hit close to home for many students.
Where the me too movement will go is hard to pinpoint. Hopefully, it’ll lead to a world where, per Pratt-Bauman’s words, “People aren’t scared of going out at night”. While much has changed in the wake of this popularizing topic, this doesn’t mean the issue is solved.
As far as students are concerned, much more needs to be done to truly tackle sexual assault. ”Just as many people, I’m sure, are getting sexually assaulted every single day as before. And the only thing that’s happened is it’s opened up this avenue for conversation, which is absolutely necessary, but no real change has come out of it,” says Reid. “There does need to be some sort of deep cultural shift. And I think that probably starts at a young age, but you need to start [by] educating people on what’s right.”