The “Me Too” hashtag has been sweeping the world since October 2017, encouraging women to speak up if they have been sexually harassed.
“Tarana Burke’s original ‘Me, Too’ campaign, launched in 2007, aimed to provide support to survivors of sexual violence who were marginalized, poor, under-represented and without a network or community to protect them. This, in a nutshell, meant that it focused on females of colour who lacked support and resources. Alyssa’s #MeToo tweet in October more than hit a nerve — it helped launch a new solidarity among millions of women who increasingly, urgently, shared their infuriating, devastating accounts of sexual violence and harassment.” – The Guardian
So far over half a million women have tweeted ‘Me Too’.
This campaign has given many women strength as well as support to speak up for themselves, defend their rights and announce that what has happened to them IS NOT OKAY.
A huge encouragement for women worldwide has been the celebrities contributing to the #MeToo with their own stories of rape and sexual harassment. Many stories that have been concealed for years are now being exposed, such as the three allegations of rape against US President, Donald Trump, which he has denied but at this point I think we know Mr. Trump better than he knows himself. Dear America, how do you feel about having a sexist, rapist as president?
In many countries this campaign has made a huge difference for the women, helped them start women empowerment programs and fight against sexism.
France has recently made a stand against sexist stereotypes on ads – toy trucks marketed for boys, naked women selling vacuum cleaners, the list goes on.
The Eiffel Tower lit up to honor women’s rights (the French equivalent of the Time’s Up movement) with the message “Maintenant on Agit” (“Now we act”) launched by the Foundation of Women. This movement was aimed to raise funds for associations helping pursue cases before justice, “so that no woman ever has to say #MeToo.”
To this, I say: Well done, women of France. This world is in need of more people who stand up for our rights.
So this shows that the #MeToo movement has made quite the positive effect in some countries.
But what about the countries who simply don’t give a damn about the rights of women?
Russia, for instance, ignoring the women who cry rape, using the stories of these women who speak up as a source of entertainment instead of dealing with it as a problem and calling these men out on their disgusting behavior.
Let us take Leonid Slutsky, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Russian parliament’s lower house, as an example. I’m having a difficult time understanding how this man is getting away with three allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted advances. Not one but three! Lets not forget that one of these women even had recorded proof but still none of this was accepted. Why? Firstly, because he denied it and labeled these women as political attackers when they had first made their allegations anonymously. Later, when their identities were made known, the reason why they were not heard was because they were NON- RUSSIAN. Yes, non-Russian. The three women who had come forward were distrusted because one of them was Georgian, another worked for a foreign news organization and a third one for an anti-Kremlin one.
But let’s look at the fact that these women were ignored because he is a man and that alone is enough for their allegations to fall on deaf ears. It has reached a point that even other females were against the three Slutsky accusers. How is this possible? How can they not have the decency to stand for their kind because no one else will?
How can a situation like this be warped so horribly that it has now become the women’s fault and nothing they say will give them the right to put this power abuser down?
Oksana Pushkina, a female lawmaker, who tried to stand up for these women was advised against this. Why? Because fighting sexual harassment would decrease the already low birthrates. Is this actually a reason for allowing rape to continue? Maybe we should take out sometime to look at their sense of morality AND humanity.
The women are not respected, they are abused and made to feel bad when they are the ones taken advantage of.
To such an extent that they’re afraid to speak up when they are wronged in this manner because they feel embarrassed and at fault. Why is it like this when men should feel ashamed for violating the rights of another? So what if this ‘another’ is of the opposite sex? Why does it matter that it’s a woman? Why are women considered so low that it’s okay to strip her of her clothes and her dignity? Is it because we don’t have the physical strength to fight for ourselves and these so-called ‘men’ want to feel powerful so they go to the only place they can force that power? If so, that is not power. That is cheap. It is weakness. It is cowardice and the only ones that should hide in shame are these awful, craven men.
Farida Rustamova, the Journalist who recorded her encounter with Slutksy was later told by Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who wasn’t convinced of these allegations, “You feel it’s dangerous to work in parliament? If so, change your job.”
No Farida, you should NOT change your job.
In no environment should a woman feel unsafe, insecure and feel as if she is surrounded by predators. We are humans and it is time to act like it.
Harvey Weinstein, Leonid Slutsky, Donald Trump, the #MeToo movement stands up against men like you. The women of Russia will win against men like you as well as every other country that chooses to ignore the rights of women, those women will win against you.
Sexism is archaic in a world that is recognizing the rights of women and this world has no place for these animalistic behaviors anymore.
This is Hafsa Umar, fighting for women’s rights at Change for the 22nd on The News-Our Perspective.