#MeToo at LMC

Azi Carter, [email protected]

Seeking to give voice to sexual abuse victims Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano used her social media platform with #metoo after accusations of sexual harassment and assault were leveled against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. According to the Associated Press, after her tweet social media was flooded with stories of harassment and assault, as #metoo became a way for users to share their experiences and stand in solidarity with other survivors.

The hashtag was widely used on Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and other platforms. On Facebook it was shared in more than 12 million posts and reactions in the first 24 hours.

Tarana Burke, an African-American woman who formed a nonprofit organization to help victims of sexual harassment and assault. Her passion grew from after meeting with a 13-year-old-girl that had been sexually abused. That moment in time was the beginning of her organization and when her Me Too campaign began. Ten years later Burke created Just Be Inc. and named her movement Me Too.

When the media frenzy began last week, on Sunday, some women of color noted that the longtime effort by Burke had not received support over the years from prominent white feminists according to several reports in the news. Burke spoke out in an interview with CNN, stating “It’s not about a viral campaign for me.” It’s about a movement.” And that movement began­­—as she put it—in the “deepest, darkest place in my soul.”

Milano has since been gracious to include Burkes’ organization Just Be Inc. website in media discussions on #metoo. Burke said she would like to see conversations about what healing looks like and wants sexual violence or gender-based violence approached as a social justice issue.

The public frenzy around #metoo prompted questions from all sides, especially, what happens to the disclosure factor and the residual that can result from outing yourself and not having a safe space to process. But at LMC, one place on campus students can seek support is through Allies, a club formed in 2014.

“Allies is open to all students at LMC, specifically LGBTQ+. We are an all-inclusive gender based club,” said current president Akila Briggs.

Unhappy with many of the responses from the administration on issues of sexual harassment, and unable to unravel the logistics of Title IX, Briggs uses her influence and support to help those dealing with sexual abuse and harassment one on one.

Title IX is a federal law prohibiting sexual assault and harassment in educational institutions and can be viewed at wwwwww.losmedanos.edu/policies/sexualmisconduct.asp.

From Clarence Thomas, Bill Crosby, and now the infamous Harvey Weinstein the conversations are far reaching. Activists and concerned citizens are looking for the solution to the age-old attitude and outdated policies of acceptance for those considered above reproach. History is littered with horror stories of those in authority dismissing the severity of sexual abuse and harassment, often taking the side of the perpetrator and alienating the victim. That is no longer being tolerated in this new world of transparency.

#Metoo started a new dialogue reaching far into the consciousness of women and men. Many of the social media postings are from men standing in solidary with the victims offering support, and some even outing themselves as perpetrators and offering emotional heartfelt public apologies.

This new presence is reassuring. The solidarity and the outpouring of support reinstates the belief in the collective community coming together for the greater good, healing wounds, one victim at a time.