10 years ago, Tarana Burke, creator of the “Me Too” campaign, was a youth camp director who sat down to hear the story of a child who had been sexually abused. Burke ended the conversation less than five minutes in and sent the child to speak with another director because she could no longer listen to the monstrous things that this child was enduring.
“I watched her walk away from me as she tried to recapture her secrets and tuck them back into their hiding place,” said Burke in an interview with CNN. “I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone, and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper, ‘me too.’”
After 10 years, the “Me Too” campaign has finally been revitalized, awakening survivors as they join to share their stories. The first tweet surfaced on Oct. 15 after Alyssa Milano posted it as a response to Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assault scandals. As of Oct. 28, nearly 60 women have come out claiming that Weinstein sexually assaulted and harassed them.
The “Me Too” campaign has become popular and continues to grow day by day, inspiring people to speak out. It is a stance that I believe Guilford students and staff should take, especially with the incidents that continue to go unannounced all around the world.
Guilford has made it clear that they do not accept any form of sexual assault or harassment and promotes consent as a must. Though this campaign was centered around the Weinstein accusations, that is not its only focus. Sexual assault has been an epidemic in our world, and I am proud and honored that people have the strength to endure and share their stories despite the pain they hold. You are not alone. Thousands upon thousands of people stand behind you ready to embrace you wholeheartedly.
“I think the one responsibility we have as survivors, once we get to a place where we can, is to create an entry point of healing for other survivors,” said Burke during her interview with CNN. “For years I couldn’t figure out what that would be for me, and then ‘Me Too’ became a thing.”
Burke continued saying that the “Me Too” campaign has given her the strength and platform to let her voice be heard and is proud that it is doing the same for so many others.
One major obstacle for people who have been sexually assaulted is the moment when they must speak out, but that should not stop them. Let us be the generation that puts an end to sexual assault and harassment for good. In less than 24 hours, 4.7 million people around the world have engaged in the “Me Too” conversation, with more than 12 million posts, comments and reactions. According to Facebook, more than 45 percent of people in the United States are friends with someone who has posted a message with the words “Me Too.” We are connected more than we think, and as long as we stand together, we can take on those who try to tear us down. I ask members of the Guilford community to stand up and join in. If you are scared to do so, then allow me to be the first.