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What the #MeToo Hashtag Really Tells us about Sexual Assault

Starting the Dialogue About a Life-changing issue

After allegations surfaced the web about Harvey Weinstein, a number of women went on social media to stand in solidarity by using the hashtag #metoo to raise awareness and express that they have been victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment, but what is this hashtag telling us?

‘Me Too’ symbolizes the commonality of women who have experienced sexual abuse in some form or fashion. One in six women will experience some form of sexual assault in their lifetime and the vast majority of them will be under the age of 35 years old [1].

The personal stories of women that have circulated social media have also shown the amount of self-blame and guilt that victims feel after they experience such a tragic event. Society has trained individuals to feel as though victims are responsible for their abuser’s actions instead of steering the blame where it is due.

Statements are often made to women who experience sexual assault like “what were you wearing” and “were you drunk”? A woman’s attire and sobriety, as well as other factors, do not determine whether or not she will be a potential victim of rape and those assaulted are not responsible for their abuser’s motives.

This hashtag has also provided women with a voice to show that sexual assault is a hot-button issue in America and that the leniency and lack of punishment from the justice system has repeatedly failed them. According to Rainn.org, 994 perpetrators out of 1000 rape cases walk away scot-free and others get a slap on the wrist with short sentencing.

From cases like Brock Turner to cases about a rapist in Michigan gaining parental rights to a child that was conceived due to his assault on a young girl, the system has constantly shown the lack of value it has for the rape survivors in this country. Every 98 seconds an individual becomes a victim of sexual assault and the number continues to grow as perpetrators have the outcome of the court at their mercy.

‘Me Too’ is more than just a hashtag it’s the reality that women face every day across the nation proving that ending sexual assault and sexual harassment needs to be a priority in this country starting with the federal government and the justice system. It is time that women stand up to a failed system and demand that individuals holding the fate of perpetrators take action and protect the individuals who experience such a traumatic event.

[1] Rainn https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence

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