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#MeToo: How Hashtag Activism is Making a Difference

A recent trend has taken over the internet and could make all the difference.

30th Oct 2017

Image Credit: SOFREP.COM

#MeToo. A hashtag which has been revived recently by actress Alyssa Milano has swept across the internet due to the recent allegations made against director Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.

Dozens of women have bravely come forward detailing the ways film producer Harvey Weinstein abused his power and had either sexually harassed, raped or assaulted them. The hashtag was originally coined by social activist, Tarana Burke in 2006 but it’s resurgent has emboldened regular women to tell their stories and raise awareness of sexual abuse in everyday life on their social media profiles.

The aim of the hashtag is to empower women and assist them in plucking up the courage to come forward with any injustices and prejudices that they have experienced. The hashtag also assists in broadcasting any incidents which have not been taken seriously or ignored. Publicising such issues with the use of the hashtag can assist society in empathising with victims’ experiences.

The hashtag is beneficial for our society as it uplifts others in a sense that it educates the younger generation and informs them on issues which are unspoken of up until now. Shedding light on the injustices can prevent others from experiencing the injustice that the victims have experienced such as sexual assault, sexism and systematic subordination. The hashtag can also prevent future incidents from occurring by educating people on how to treat women; society can in turn learn what is okay to do and what is not. Although the hashtag may not completely eradicate the injustices that women experience within today’s society, it is a wonderful and progressive step towards making a change and informing ignorant and uninformed individuals that look pass such issues that are prevalent in the world.

Moreover, it is influential and therapeutic as it encourages many people to step forward and open up about their experiences which were previously repressed. It also sheds light on the severity and prevalence of the problem in our society; a taboo subject, it is often swept under the rug.

However, the hashtag is not exclusively for women. Let us not disregard or undermine the effects this hashtag has on male victims. The hashtag helps men open up about their experiences which is often harder to speak out about due to hyper-masculinity, often ridiculing men who have experienced physical or sexual abuse. This hashtag seeks to normalise the expression of the injustices. Normalization can hopefully lead to individuals going to the police to report such crimes or testifying in court.

Despite the endless benefits, critics argue that the hashtag has the potential to be re-traumatizing for individuals who have been victims of sexual abuse or rape and the hashtag is causing them to relive the unfortunate events that happened to them.

On the contrary, if people do not come forward and inform people about their experiences, who will come forward and fight against the injustices? Why should victims have to take a backseat and suffer in silence? Yes, re-living the trauma is psychologically draining. However, talking about one’s traumatic experiences can also be extremely therapeutic for the individual as well as others who have experienced the same thing.

Remember, you have a voice, you will not be ignored and you will be heard.

Use the hashtag to share your own experiences. You have the potential to spark change in the world:

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