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Me Too Movement and sexual harassment awareness.  Because sexual harassment and sexual assault affect people every day, the “Me Too” movement, which focuses on sexual violence survivors’ experiences, has gotten much attention. 

The movement’s proponents demonstrate how common sexual harassment is by sharing their own experiences. The hope is that by increasing public awareness of sexual harassment, tolerance for it will decrease, and support for victims will increase. 

What is the Me Too movement, and why is it so popular?

The Me Too movement is a social change movement organized chiefly through social media, with the hashtag #MeToo used frequently. Founded in 2006, the organization rose to prominence online and in the mainstream in late 2017. Several high-profile actresses spoke out about their sexual harassment experiences in the film industry. 

Since then, the movement has served as a source of support for women who have been subjected to sexual harassment, most commonly but not always perpetrated by a male coworker. 

Who started the “Me Too” movement?

Tarana Burke, an American social activist, used the slogan “me too” on the social networking site Myspace in the early 2000s to draw attention to the prevalence of sexual harassment, particularly among women of color. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tarana Burke, an American social activist

Burke claims that the Me Too movement promotes empowerment through empathy by demonstrating how frequent sexual harassment is worldwide and reassuring survivors that they are not alone and that everyone supports them. 

The hashtag #MeToo 

Burke’s rallying call was amplified in 2017 by actress Alyssa Milano, who coined the hashtag #MeToo, which is still trending on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms today. 

Many women in Hollywood have spoken up about sexual harassment by well-known film producer Harvey Weinstein, prompting Milano’s actions. 

Although Weinstein’s accusers sparked the campaign, Milano’s use of Burke’s term could have been a potent trigger. The movement continues to be a source of support for victims of sexual harassment today. #MeToo tweets and Instagram postings continue to be shared daily and remind us how common sexual abuse remains. 

What is sexual harassment? 

The Me Too movement focuses on sexual misconduct: sexual harassment and sexual assault. Although legal definitions differ by jurisdiction, these terms usually relate to inappropriate and unwanted sexual acts, particularly in the workplace or at school. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual  approaches, solicitations for sexual favors, and other sexually motivated verbal or physical actions.” 

The Act of 1964 Civil Rights protects employees from sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment behaviors, on the other hand, are always inappropriate and wrong, no matter where they occur. 

Sexual harassment in the workplace can include: 

  1. One coworker repeating unwanted sexual approaches toward another, whether or not instructed to cease. 
  2. Soliciting sexual favors from an employee for monetary compensation, such as a promotion or pay boost.
  3. Inappropriate contact by one employee with another.
  4. A supervisor threatening an employee because they refuse to engage in sexual or romantic activities. 
  5. Non-physical and non-verbal acts include: leering, staring, winking, blowing kisses, and eating or holding food provocatively. 
  6. All incidents of sexual assault are also instances of sexual harassment since sexual assault is a form of sexual harassment. However, not all cases of sexual harassment are severe enough to be classified as sexual assault. 

Sexual contact without the victim’s consent defines as sexual assault. Rape or attempted rape,  unwanted sexual touching, or forcing another person to engage in sexual behavior against their will are all examples.

Sexual harassment often includes the use of force, but it is not always physical. If a victim is forced or persuaded into engaging in unwanted sexual behavior, it is still considered sexual assault. 

Sexual assault situations include the following: 

Sexually penetrating the victim by the perpetrator.
A lecturer threatening students’ grades if they do not participate in particular sexual acts.
Touching others sexually without the other person’s explicit consent. Like groping on a packed train, for example.

The examples above are only a few of the sexual harassment and assault forms. These actions come in various shapes and sizes, and they are never appropriate. 

Sexual harassment perpetrators 

There are no definite criteria for determining who is guilty of sexual harassment. Although it’s most commonly one person in a position of power — such as a film producer or a company executive — abusing their position to assault others sexually. Anyone can engage in illegal harassment regardless of their status. 

It’s also worth noting that criminals frequently know their victims. Sexual harassment is more common among coworkers, as the Me Too campaign has demonstrated. It would be wrong to conclude that sexual harassment frequently occurs among strangers, even though such incidents do occur. 

There is no diminution on who can be a victim of sexual harassment. Just as there is no diminution on who can be an abuser. Even though women were the most visible voices in the Me Too campaign, the harassment of men also happens. People of the same or opposite sex harass men and women, so neither gender nor sexual orientation is a barrier to harassment. 

Statistics on sexual assault 

Sexual violence has harmed millions of Americans, according to RAINN. Specifically: 

The bulk of sexual assault victims is in their early twenties, with 54 percent of victims being between 18 and 34. 

Women and adolescents are the most common victims of sexual violence. Females account for 82 percent of all juvenile sexual assault victims and 90 percent of adult rape victims.

Sexual violence is more common among transgender persons (mainly students) than cisgender people. 

Although males are less likely to be victims of sexual violence, the assault happened to millions of men. 2.78 million men had been raped in 1998. 

The National Women’s Law Center stated black women are nearly three times as likely as white women to be sexually harassed at work. 

Sexual violence affects victims for an extended period after the crime has occurred. Ninety-four percent of raped women developed post-traumatic stress disorder due to the occurrence. Seventy percent of sexual assault victims experience average to severe distress, more than victims of any other violent crime. 

Sexual harassment and assault prevention 

No one asks to be sexually attacked or harassed, and the perpetrator, not the victim, is always to blame.

It’s critical to identify risk factors, and discover strategies to prevent violence before it occurs. When it comes to falling rates of sexual violence, victims must receive the assistance and resources they need to report perpetrators before they attack again. Take a stand against sexual assault. 

Preventing sexual assault can sometimes be as simple as standing up at the proper time. It’s best to address someone acting suspiciously in public or among your friends before the situation turns into sexual violence. 

It could involve notifying someone if you suspect that a person spiked their date’s drink with a drug; or simply addressing a friend’s rude or cruel statements. 

You don’t have to work in the criminal justice system to stand against illegal sexual activity. When ordinary people face sexual violence, they can and should speak up. 

Ultimately, it’s crucial to recognize that sexual violence perpetrators can lead otherwise ordinary lives. Tell someone you care about to cease talking about injuring others or making harsh statements. Before their behavior spirals out of control, explain why what they’re doing is wrong. 

Teach prevention techniques 

Everyone can help in the prevention of sexual harassment. Employers should concentrate on establishing clear sexual harassment policies, detecting inappropriate conduct, and providing employees with the tools they need to report cases of sexual harassment in the workplace – anonymously if required, to avoid retaliation. 

Educate employees on how to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. This training should clarify what sexual harassment is, provide staff with the knowledge they need to spot sexual assault and assist them in understanding what they can do if they witness it. 

When talking to people about sexual harassment, it’s crucial to discuss what constitutes a good relationship. To prevent awkward circumstances from growing into cases of sexual harassment, talk to people about what constitutes suitable and inappropriate wooing and emphasize the significance of communication skills and education in the workplace. 

Empower at-risk populations 

Empowering these communities to protect themselves from sexual harassment and report harassers before harming someone else is essential for sexual harassment prevention. 

Institutions that assist victims of sexual harassment should be forthright about their support for marginalized communities. Furthermore, supporting and enabling members of these at-risk demographics to pursue leadership training and positions can make other marginalized people feel safer in their surroundings and more secure about reporting a harasser. 

Make a secure environment 

Safe spaces help survivors of sexual assault to speak openly about what happened to them without fear of judgment.

Whether they exist at school, in support groups, with a skilled psychologist, or in the workplace, safe places are critical for survivors to overcome their sexual assault. 

Ultimately, assisting survivors in feeling safer and more supported will encourage more people to come forward and report sexual abusers. 

Believe in the victims and lend your support

Because they are afraid of their peers’ reactions, sexual harassment and assault victims may be hesitant to come out with their experiences. They may be terrified of being labeled a liar, told they’re exaggerating, ashamed about the incident, or, worse, retaliation from their abuser. As a result, when survivors of sexual violence come forward with their stories, it is critical to trust them and support them. Show survivors of sexual abuse that you care about their experience by taking their reports of sexual misconduct seriously and blaming the perpetrator rather than the victim when speaking with them.

 

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