‘Me too’ movement gives sexual assault survivors a voice

Photo: KXAN

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Social media has made it easier than ever to keep tabs on your favorite celebrities — what they’re doing and who they’re with. But with the two simple words “me too,” it’s getting more personal.

In light of recent sexual assault claims against film producer Harvey Weinstein, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted Sunday encouraging everyone who has been sexually harassed or assaulted to write ‘me too’ in their status, to get a sense of how big the problem is. The hashtag has gone viral with other celebrities using the phrase, and possibly people you know.

In some cases, people who are using the #MeToo are also including their story about what happened to them whether it be about unwanted workplace advances or a case of sexual assault.

“How heartbreaking that is to see how many people have stories,” said Bri Hudgins, who lives in Hutto. “It was surprising to see, what feels like a small town, Hutto, Round Rock, these towns, to see how many people re-posted ‘me too.’”

If you’re considering posting “me too,” people at Hope Alliance, the only rape-crisis center in Williamson County, say there are some risks.

“It’s just a vulnerability,” explains Julie Goble, director of counseling and advocacy services with Hope Alliance. “It’s putting yourself out there for people to ask you, ‘oh tell me, what happened to you?’ you know telling your story.”

Even if people ask, Goble says you don’t have to share unless you’re ready, but it may help. “I’ve had many survivors just come and tell their story once to me and tell me, ‘I have never told anyone that before,’ and then them immediately feeling a release and a lifting up, a weight gone,” said Goble.

Goble says survivors don’t own the assault or harassment, it’s something that happened to them and they shouldn’t feel shame. “Victims are constantly made to feel like they were responsible for it in some way, what were they wearing, what were they doing there.”

In fact, Goble has a new tagline to add to the viral phrase, “Me too and it’s not my fault.”

Hope Alliance offers help to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. They provide therapy, legal aid, and shelter. You can also call their 24-hour hotline at 1-800-460-7233.

As social media becomes more prevalent, campaigns like this are becoming more popular. That includes the “It Gets Better” project to encourage LGBT teenagers who are facing adversity. Since 2010, more than 50,000 videos have been viewed more than 50 million times. The project has attracted submissions from people including former President Barack Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Anne Hathaway, Joe Jonas, and Ellen DeGeneres.

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