36 "Me Too" Tweets That Will Shatter You
After the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfolded this month, many survivors of sexual violence took to social media to share their own experiences of sexual assault and harassment in and out of Hollywood. Some expressed frustration with the so-called "open secret" of sexual assault perpetrators who operate in plain sight but, whether because of power or influence, are rarely prosecuted. Discussions online came to a head this weekend as the Me Too campaign united survivors of sexual assault and harassment in an attempt at not just solidarity, but tallying.
The campaign traces back to a sister campaign, #WomenWhoRoar, which sought to amplify the voices of women who are often systematically silenced when talking about their experience as survivors. #WomenWhoRoar, promoted on Saturday by Amy Siskind of The New Agency, a women's advocacy nonprofit, eventually branched off into personal stories of assault and harassment, denoted by the addition of "me too" into related tweets.
As trends often do, the hashtag soon took off across multiple social media platforms, with survivors sharing their stories. Sometimes their tweets detailed horrific sexual assaults; sometimes they simply expressed the relief of finally speaking up in public. Across the board, survivors stood in solidarity with each other, reminding themselves that, if nothing else, they are not alone in their experiences.
Users used their experiences with sexual harassment and assault to call attention to Twitter for temporarily locking Rose McGowan's account.
Reply To This Tweet
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
Actress Alyssa Milano gained a lot of attention on Sunday when she urged those among her followers who are survivors to tweet at her.
Got To Stop
Amy Siskind, an advocate behind the trending hashtag, was alarmed by the vast number of women self-reporting their experiences.
Finally Feel Safe
i hope i live long enough to see the day when my female friends are writing #MeToo on social media to mean"i finally feel safe in the world"— 🎃Lane Moore🎃 (@hellolanemoore) October 15, 2017
Comedian Lane Moore said she hoped that someday women would rally around feeling safe together instead of to tell stories about being abused.
It happens every minute, every day. Stop pretending it happens to other people. Stop telling men it is ok. #MeToo— redheadchristie (@redheadchristie) October 15, 2017
Many women are often told that it's their fault they were sexually assaulted or harassed, and as the #MeToo hashtag highlighted, it's alarmingly common.
It's Your Assailant
It's not your clothing.— quinn cummings (@quinncy) October 15, 2017
It's not your feminism.
It's not your education.
It's your assailant.
Victim blaming often seeks to attribute assault to something the victim did or said, but author Quinn Cummings argued that only one party is to blame — the perpetrator.
Living In The After
If you aren't okay w posting #MeToo, know this:— Bindas Ladki (@bindasladki) October 16, 2017
1. I believe you.
2. You don't have to speak up to be brave. Living in the after is brave.
Some #MeToo participants took a moment to reflect on all the voices that weren't speaking up this weekend because they were too scared or emotionally unprepared to do so.
We Have All Dealt With This
Best Thing: Finding out we are not alone and have all dealt with this— Paula Herrera (@therealpaulah) October 16, 2017
Worst Thing: Finding out we have all dealt with this#MeToo
Even though rallying calls can be a point of solidarity, they can also be a harrowing reality check.
Having To Bare Their Souls
I wish #MeToo was rapists and assailants admitting to being trash humans instead of survivors having to bare their souls.— Dr. Lucia Lorenzi (@empathywarrior) October 16, 2017
In situations of sexual violence, the onus often falls on survivors to keep the topic in conversation, something that can be extremely traumatic for victims to relive.
You Will Be You Again
It’s been 5 years since I have been raped. To fellow survivors:— Shannon Taylor (@HeyThereImShan) October 16, 2017
-Feel safe again
-Be you again#MeToo
Taking the opportunity to offer support to fellow survivors, user Shannon Taylor used the hashtag as an opportunity to share a message of hope.
I Was A Child
Frequently, survivors shared stories of emotional manipulation that took place after the assault itself.
Too Scared To Speak
After years of feeling silenced, #MeToo offered a supportive platform for survivors of sexual violence to speak out.
My Mother Too
Me too, my mother too, my sister too, my grandmother too, my best friends too. #metoo— Linds (@__LadyPatriot__) October 16, 2017
Even though each assault discussed was a unique experience, many recognized that they weren't the only person they knew with similar traumas.
#metoo— Jessica Wade (@jeswade6) October 16, 2017
First 14yrs of life, my dad received 200yrs in prison.
One user, and many others, recalled over a decade of sexual abuse.
You Don't Get Over It
Victim Becomes The Accused
Rape is the only crime in which the victim becomes the accused. #MeToo— Carrissa S. (@Carrissa_14) October 16, 2017
Many participants expressed frustration about the tendency for victims of sexual violence to be accused of lying, or worse, causing the assault.
Let This Sink In
my entire twitter & facebook feeds are full of women i know saying #metoo.— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) October 16, 2017
men, no matter what your history---just let this sink in.
Because survivors often keep their stories quiet, trends like #MeToo can be an opportunity to expose how rampant sexual violence against women actually is.
People Couldn't Handle Hearing
A well meaning mentor told me at 25 that people couldn't handle hearing about sexual abuse and it would sink my ministry. It didn't. #MeToo— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) October 16, 2017
Even the best-meaning people can create environments which silence survivors, as user Beth Moore pointed out.
Took Me 45 Minutes
It took me 45 minutes to finally decide to tweet this and it should not be this hard. But it is. #MeToo— Jamie ❀ (@Jamie_Lynne_) October 16, 2017
For many users, #MeToo was the first time they publicly addressed their experiences.
My supervisor asked me to step into the bathroom so he could show me how to do the inventory. He pinned me against a wall. #MeToo— Kristin Dugas (@kristindugas) October 16, 2017
#MeToo was filled with stories of women being taken advantage of by men in positions of power.
Mocked Me When I Yelled
Assault on public transportation was an unsettlingly common theme among women participating in the hashtag, including this one user who says she was mocked for yelling while being assaulted.
Drunk Is Not An Excuse
#MeToo Just Thursday a male acquaintance grabbed me and kissed me. Friends laughed it off. Being drunk is not an excuse.— Kendra (@thenewKendra) October 16, 2017
Another theme frequently touched upon was women being told that they took their experiences too seriously, as if sexual assault and harassment could ever be "not that bad."
Convince Yourself It Didn't Actually Happen
Sexual assault is handled so poorly that it's easier to convince yourself that it didn't actually happen. #metoo— Ash (@mulattomadness) October 16, 2017
The legal hoops, the social stigma, and the process of re-traumatizing yourself can all dissuade a survivor from reporting her experience. Many feel it can be easier to say nothing at all.
First Company I Worked For
An alarming number of women said they were underage when they were assaulted and harassed by men in their lives.
Thinking They Were Minor
Many, including user @eringhere, lamented feeling like their assault "wasn't that bad" compared to other women's stories, and then grappling with the damaging effect of placing value judgements on assault.
Nobody Would Believe Me
I was told it was normal, not to cry. That if I did tell nobody would believe me.. I was 11. #MeToo— JacquiResists (@JacquelineNY69) October 16, 2017
Sexual assault and harassment can feel so hopelessly pervasive that survivors are sometimes manipulated into believing that what happened to them could or should be normalized.
Silent Because I Was Scared
There were seemingly infinite women who reported feeling too scared to speak out about and report their experiences to authorities.
Talk Me Out Of Pressing Charges
#MeToo. And the cops tried to talk me out of pressing charges, because everyone would know I'd been raped, & how embarrassing would THAT be?— Danielle Muscato (@DanielleMuscato) October 16, 2017
Even law enforcement, frequently, can feel like a barrier to reporting and prosecuting perpetrators.
Not A Sign Of Love
Don't tell a girl that when a boy hits her or is anyway rude to her it's because he has a crush on her. Abuse is not a sign of love #MeToo— Faith 🍁 (@WDWDagumit) October 16, 2017
One way that rape culture normalizes assault is by teaching, especially children, that hitting and name-calling is a way to show affection.
Being Called A Liar
The trial, being torn apart by his lawyer&being called a liar. That was more traumatic than the assault. I still regret reporting it #MeToo— Indigypsy (@Chokomolin) October 16, 2017
#MeToo participants were scathingly blunt about their bad experiences, including with the legal systems they depended on to protect them.
Tell Me This Isn't A Problem
#Metoo— catsillarz (@csillars17) October 16, 2017
Watch a young girl walk home at night with her keys in between her fingers and fear in her eyes and tell me that this isn't a problem
One participant pointed out one of the many ways in which women are socialized into being persistently fearful and on guard against potential assaults.
It's Okay To Log Off
If #MeToo is triggering, it’s okay to log off. It’s okay to go take care of yourself. It’s okay not to participate. It’s okay.— Karen Kaltenheuser (@_kkaltenheuser) October 16, 2017
Recounting sexual assault and harassment can be re-traumatizing, and while participants gathered to support each other, user Karen Kaltenheuser pointed out that survivors shouldn't feel guilty if the hashtag was triggering a negative emotional response.
okay ugh hi i was sexually assaulted by a longtime friend in august. i had been broken up with the day before. i was in pain. he knew #metoo— hari nef (@harinef) October 16, 2017
One user recounted being assaulted by a friend who knew that she was particularly vulnerable that day. Like hundreds of other women participating in the hashtag, she recalled the particular horror of being abused by someone who knew her.
All Of Us
Know what makes me angry? That my 1st thought about this movement was, "But isn't that *all* of us?" & my 2nd was "Which time?" #MeToo— Jennifer Hodges (@KresyTalk) October 16, 2017
Sexual assault is such a pervasive problem that it sometimes feels like it's a universal experience.
Not Sure I Know A Woman Who Wasn't
I was just 8 yrs old. I am not sure I know a woman who has not been assaulted or raped, groped, molested, harassed, or threatened. #MeToo— renm (@rensaysthings) October 16, 2017
Sexual abuse is so common, and it comes in so many forms, that one user said she wasn't sure she knew a woman who hasn't experienced it in one form or another.
How Many Men Stay Silent
#MeToo can also be used to address how many men stay silent or let others get away with assault, because they're friends with the abuser.— Danisha Carter (@DanishaCarter4) October 16, 2017
Danisha Carter suggested that male onlookers should use the #MeToo hashtag to reconsider their own passive accountability, especially when the perprator is their friend.
The tweets continued to roll in through Sunday night and into Monday morning. As #MeToo illustrated, the truth is in the numbers. Sexual assault is pervasive, and its survivors will not be silent.