#metoo | What Next?
When I was 12 a teacher slipped his hands inside my shorts. When I was 17 a co-worker did the same. I was asleep upstairs at a party and woke up to a young man on top of me. And these are just the stories I feel comfortable sharing with you. #metoo
If you are on social media, you may have seen this hashtag and similar stories to my own all over the place in the last week or so. Over 5 million people have posted on Facebook and over a million on twitter, around 30% of those men, to raise awareness and share stories about sexual harassment and assault. It is clear that there is a massive issue that needs to be addressed but it is not enough to simply know about it - what can we do?
Get support - if you have been impacted by harassment or assault in such a way that it is impacting your everyday life - seek help. If you don’t know where to start, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline - 800.656.HOPE (4673) who will connect you with support local to you.
Support those around you - although someone was brave enough to post online that doesn't they have everything together. Reach out and let people know you are there for them.
Hold one another accountable - we have to be brave and continue to speak up about these issues, men and women alike to bring change. When we can, we need to speak up and speak out when these things happen to fuel the wind of change in our society.
Don’t assume - just because someone chose not to post doesn't mean that they haven’t experienced this - look out for your friends, take time to listen and share stories.
Have an open mind - with these big campaigns, it can be easy to lump everyone together and decide all men are awful - there are many men who have experienced these things too, and women who have harassed and abused others. Have grace and treat person as the unique individual they are.
What I’ve learned is that real change is very, very hard. But I’ve also learned that change is possible - if you fight for it.