By now, I hope you’ve heard of the #MeToo social media campaign. It was started by Alyssa Milano on Sunday, October 15, as a way to show all of us how prevalent sexual assault and sexual harassment are.
Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” She then shared a photo which read, “Me too. Suggested by a friend: ‘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.'”
Personally, I think that goal has been accomplished. My co-workers, family members, neighbors, friends and casual acquaintances have found their voice, and stated, “Me too!”
One post I found most interesting came from a local clergy member in Cache Valley. He shared an article written by a female pastor in California. This pastor, Jennifer, told the stories of her colleagues who have been harassed in church, some have been harassed by congregation members and others have been harassed by congregation leaders. It was a reminder to me that, unfortunately, sexual assault and domestic violence happen everywhere.
Maybe along with declaring, “Me too,” we should stand up to say, “Here too!” It happens in our churches. It happens in our schools. It happens at parties. It happens at work. Unfortunately, it may feel like there is no safe place to turn to, because everywhere people are being assaulted. But I don’t want you to feel unsafe. Even if it is Halloween in a week, I don’t want you constantly looking over your shoulder wondering when something bad will happen. Instead, I want you to first, recognize it happens everywhere, and it’s not your fault. If you’ve been abused, please don’t add to your pain by retracing your steps and just thinking if I hadn’t have gone there… If I hadn’t gone to that party, if I hadn’t gone to his apartment, if I hadn’t gone on that date… It happens everywhere. You are not at fault. There are people who believe you, hear you and care about you. Seek help, and find peace.
Second, I want you to recognize it happens everywhere! If something looks or feels out of place and inappropriate, it definitely might be. Don’t just think because you’re at church, at school, at work or at a friends house that you’re safe. Logan is not a big city. It is a generally safe town, but Logan and Cache Valley are not immune to violence. Please don’t be nervous to walk outside your front doors, but please don’t be oblivious to people’s safety, and don’t just assume we’re safe because we’re in Logan or we’re with friends or we’re at a university sanctioned event. Unfortunately, abuse happens everywhere. It happens in our homes, which seem like they should be the safest places possible. For this reason, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves on signs of violence, and realize how we can stand up for those who we think might be in danger. In that vein, Loveisrespect.org has warning signs and resources for helping a child, a co-worker, a friend, an acquaintance, etc. utilize these resources, and help stop abuse.
#MeToo showed us the prevalence of sexual assault within our communities. Hopefully, thinking about #HereToo can help us realize our role in both not blaming victims of abuse, and helping those in need. Abuse happens everywhere, but kindness and hope are kindled everywhere as well.
Thank you to all who have supported CAPSA.