When I was in my early twenties, a couple of close female friends told me about their sexual assaults. I was horrified and sad and distraught. And I started to do research to learn the best way to support them and also to find other sources of support.
As I did the research I learned how often this kind of thing was happening. A recent survey by Stop Street Harassment came out this January and found that 81% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment.
And the stats I was reading at that time were similar. I was shocked. How could this be happening so often?? And why was there so little discussion about it??
At that time, there was a lot of blame on those assaulted:
“Your skirt was too short.”
“You shouldn’t have kissed him.”
“You shouldn’t have been drinking.”
And because of the blame there was, and is, a lot of shame around it. Many of the women that I knew didn’t tell their stories to ANYONE until years after the event.
Because if you think it’s your fault or your ashamed about it, there’s no assault story to tell.
Sexual harassment and assault has been happening to women and girls for hundreds, if not thousands of years. And, in smaller numbers, it has been happening to men and boys as well.
And brave women and men have been working to right these wrongs for just as long as they’ve been happening. From quietly warning their friends about a particular professor’s office hours to opening sexual assault centres, a lot of work has been done.
And then, in the fall of 2017, the #MeToo hashtag exploded.
It was used 1.7 million times in 85 countries, according to this CBS article.
And it was built on all the year of hard work that has been done before.
But something, this time, was different. This was not the first time brave women had told their stories, but the technology allowed these women to connect directly to other women around the world.
You see, the mainstream media is still controlled by men. As of 2017, according to a report by the Women’s Media Centre, 61% of journalists are men and if you look at who’s in management positions it’s even higher.
And so the movement changed from quiet tears in women’s bathrooms, to quiet tears in women’s bathrooms around the world.
And some women felt less alone.
And some women realized it wasn’t “their fault.”
And some women got angry.
And some women demanded change.
And some women, well let’s be honest A LOT of women, cried.
Women around the world connected. And change began to happen.
And this issue was taken to a whole new level.
These issues are far from “solved,” but it’s a great step in the right direction…
And it’s shows that there’s a real power when women get together and talk and listen.
I’m starting a new group for women entrepreneurs to come together to support each other that’ll start in February 2020. Details will be coming soon.
If you want to be notified as soon as the details are out – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep taking good care of yourself,