A new social media trend is taking over Facebook. This week women who have been sexually harassed and or victims of sexual assault have been encouraged to write a status saying two simple words: “Me too.”
The trend allegedly started with Alyssa Milano. She tweeted on October 15, “Me too.” If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
The hashtag began to trend on Twitter and soon after blew up on Facebook. Journalists, celebrities and influencers quickly hopped on board.
At least 20 of my female Facebook friends have posted the status “Me too” in the last 48 hours.
Sexual assault is a problem. Sexual harassment is a problem. Cosmopolitan held a survey of 2,235 full-time and part-time female employees. Out of those, the survey found that one in three women admitted having been sexually harassed at work, at some point in time.
I have worked for eight different companies, corporations, etc. Truthfully, not a single one of those jobs have been exempt from some level of sexual harassment. In my experience, it occurs both during employee-customer interaction and between other employees and me.
I’m not being dramatic when I say it happens daily, whether that’s in or out of my professional life. Like brushing my teeth in the morning, it’s a routine. Wake up, get dressed, brush my teeth, prepare to be sexually exploited.
One house that I pass on my walk to school makes a point to catcall me every single day. They sit inside, windows open and yell things like, “Hey red, you look like fun. Come and party with us.”
In an attempt to ignore it, I wear headphones; but what I really want to do is tell them to fuck off. What happens if they decide to make contact with me, though? They could get physical with me, overpower me. This fear is real.
I work at a four-star resort, a real classy place. I am polite and friendly to every guest I encounter, which may be misconstrued as flirtation. Men have told me the numbers to their rooms with sly smiles.
At the same job, another female employee and I were told by a guest, “Pretty little ladies like you two should be going out every night. You ladies need to go out and get lucky.”
I wish it were as simple as telling these guests to go to hell, but my role as a professional is to remain composed and polite.
It’s clear that this issue needs to be confronted, but is social media the way to do that? It pisses me off that one would even need to put this as their status in order to get people to listen. It infuriates me that women have to exploit their personal experiences on a social media platform, to be taken seriously.
I have read numerous articles saying that the women who are posting these statuses are looking for attention, but it’s not their intention to seek out sympathy or throw a pity party for themselves. They (and I) are seeking justice.
If you don’t recognize that violence against women is a prevalent issue in our society, then you are part of the problem. Stop being ignorant and educate yourself. Educate those around you and if you have caught yourself doing anything like this to a fellow human, realize that when you catcall, make sexual comments to or make unwanted physical contact with someone, it makes them feel small and insignificant. Please stop.