The phrase “me too” first entered social media in 2006 when Tarana Burke used the phrase to speak out against sexual assault. After over a decade, this phrase has become a uniting call for women who have experienced the same.
The movement grew in fame and power as women who had been assaulted by Harvey Weinstein used the hashtag to speak out about their experiences. From the many who have spoken out against the film producer, 6 are testifying against him and countless other women have been inspired to speak out from their own experiences.
This hashtag took the world by storm and created positive change by empowering other survivors with the reminder that they are not alone.
The movement placed a spotlight on nondisclosure agreements and settlements that prevent survivors from speaking out and allow for these cases to be buried
Nondisclosure agreements work to protect the person committing the crime but do little for the victim.
Those who are victims of sexual harassment are forced to sign away control of their story. Even their trauma is not treated as their own. Victims are given monetary compensation as if that would make up for the lifelong burden they have to carry.
The case against Weinstein ended March 11, with Judge James Burke sentencing him for a total of 23 years in prison for criminal sexual act and rape, a culmination the #metoo movement that had been sparked by this case. Yet, the movement does not end here.
Rather, the movement targets a culture in society. A culture that allows for prominent people ranging from celebrities to political figures to continue a pattern of disrespectful and harmful behavior (with sometimes little consequence). A culture that results in 81% of women and 43% of men becoming victims of this behavior.
The movement uncovers a significant problem in way sexual harassment is perceived.
The continued use of nondisclosure agreements demonstrates the subtle acceptance of sexual harrassment that persists, despite years of progress.
Nondisclosure agreements allow for those who commit the crime to have a way of, a way of escaping necessary consequences and force the survivors to carry their trauma in silence. These agreements are simply a way for sexual harassment to be permitted and should no longer be in use
Agreements like this show the amount of work there still is to be done. The fight against sexual harassment is ongoing but it needs a society that is willing to fight for the rights of everyone