The Me Too movement went viral last year when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a call to action encouraging women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted to post a status with the words “me too”.
My Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds filled with “me too” posts as my friends and acquaintances bravely shared this unfortunate commonality with the world.
Although the movement went viral only 6 months ago, the work really began in 2007 when activist Tarana Burke encouraged women who had experienced sexual harassment or assault to stand together, birthing the Me Too campaign.
Six months ago I saw the movement gain steam and the hashtag continue to trend, then watched in awe as Time Magazine announced the 2017 person of the year: the silence breakers. The magazine chose to highlight those who have come forward to shed light on sexual harassment and abuse in America.
Time Magazine’s Editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal honored the courage of “hundreds of others, and of many men as well, who have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s.”
I believe culture shifts happen when people have the courage to speak out + step out to share their message, while others have the open minds + open hearts to receive the message.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my part in all of this…what does it mean to take an active role in this shift? What does it mean to speak truth? What does it mean to really hear and honor the truths of others?
It starts with believing.
Start By Believing is a global campaign transforming the way we respond to sexual assault. This campaign seeks to reduce the fear and stigma associated with sexual assault disclosure.
Through this campaign, I’ve learned a few statements that can make all the difference.
Start By Believing – “I’m sorry this happened. I’m here for you. I believe you.”
Be Supportive – “I’m glad you told me. I’m so proud of you.”
Ask How You Can Help – “What can I do to support you?”
I encourage you to take an active role in this movement and culture shift that’s happening around you. Do your own work by showing up as a fierce friend for women who need you.
Believe your friends. Believe your family. Believe your coworkers. Believe your neighbors.
And what else can you do? Give back to the organizations that are on the ground doing the work.
Recently I volunteered to be the social media correspondent for an event happening later this year benefiting The Victim Center: an organization that provides free of charge services to women, men, and children in southwest Missouri who have been victims of violent and sexual crimes.
Long before the Me Too movement, The Victim Center provided hope and healing to the individuals they whole-heartedly serve.
As a native Missourian and friend to the brilliant women who work for this organization, I feel called to use my platform to shine light on their mission.
I invite you to join me at Wine, Women, & Shoes in Springfield, MO benefiting The Victim Center in October. Like their Facebook page so you can stay in the know about ticket sales. Funds raised from this event will ensure TVC can continue providing services like prevention education, 24-hour crisis intervention, and counseling and support at no cost to those who need them.
Also, if you feel led, donate to The Victim Center here so they can continue their important work.
“Movements are long, and they are built over time. Movements are made from moments.” – Tarana Burke
Let’s make this moment count.