#MeToo draws attention

Grace DeKoker, Copy Editor

Rape is not a topic that is easily discussed. It is not considered a socially acceptable thread of conversation. But with 312,500 men and women facing sexual assault every year, according to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, many wonder why we aren’t talking about it?

The #MeToo movement aims to change that, and has taken Twitter by storm. It gained its current popularity in wake of movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault accusations, though the movement was actually started 10 years ago by Tarana Burke as a way to ensure women who had survived sexual assault knew they were not alone. Its recent resurfacing on several social media platforms– Twitter primarily– was prompted when several women came out after years of silence in support of the 79 women and counting who have come out so against Weinstein.

#MeToo has gained speed over the past few months, with nearly 1.7 retweets in 85 countries by people who have unfortunately dealt with the same situation they have. according to CBS. It allows them to connect with more people: people who can truly empathize. The use of the hashtag differs from other social media activism trends. It is not a call to action, it isn’t in protest of any inequity; it is a statement. The hashtag is for people who want to try an attempt at closure, or perhaps just don’t want to keep the secret of their assault to themselves anymore.

The act of speaking openly about one’s trauma has been proven to promote the mental healing process, according to RAINN. The intention is to help struggling women, Burke said, and a way to join into an accepting community.

Yet, there are critics of the movement alongside its proponents- many question why typing out a symbol followed by five letters is empowering, or why one would go on online, instead of actively reporting the crime to an authority figure.

These are two legitimate points, and ones that unless you have been victimized by rape, you cannot answer. In the end, it really boils down to what the victims feel comfortable with, their own happiness and the recovery process.