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The Story of the Metoo Movement

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The ‘me too.’ movement was founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. In October 2017, the movement began to spread virally on social media as a hashtag in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in workplace. Me too movement has a huge impact around the world. Tarana has embraced # MeToo’s A-List flag-bearers since it transformed from a low-key project into a global byword-but her focus is on lasting change at all levels of society.

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Women’s movements around the world have achieved landmark victories over the past several years on issues such as voting rights, sexual and reproductive health, and legal equality. To be sure, more work needs to be done: women in Saudi Arabia are still living under the repressive system of male guardianship, unmarried women in Iran can not easily access reproductive health services, and women around the world are still fighting for equal pay. Recent developments, however, have encouraged women around the globe to be more optimistic about change prospects.

Calls to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network — a U.S. crisis hotline — rose by 23 percent from the same period in 2016 between October and December 2017. Some survivors of abuse have cited # MeToo as a stressful influence, saying the pain of their abuse has resurfaced. Others reported feeling less alone, saying they were encouraged to address past trauma by talking to loved ones, counselors, or like-minded people. ‘It’s brought the idea of sexual harassment and assault into the public consciousness,’ Ms Brooke says. ‘Even if the discussion around the movement is criticism, you are still bringing about an awareness that this happens.’ 1 in 6 is a non-profit group based in Los Angeles that supports survivors of male sexual abuse. Meredith Alling, director of development and communications for the group, told the BBC that # MeToo had a rapid, measurable impact on the number of men reaching them when the hashtag first became viral.

The movement ‘me too’ has also mobilized women in Nigeria. Because Boko Haram is the state in West Africa which opposes female education, women’s groups have created safe spaces for girls to study. They also organized protests outside embassies to keep up the pressure from the Nigerian government to ensure that all kidnapped people returned. Approximately 140 girls have escaped or been exchanged through mediation since January 2018. While a large number are still being held captive, this movement has been a major catalyst for women’s issues to be organized globally. #BringBackOurGirls activists began a global conversation and brought partners from all over the world to talk about violence against women and human trafficking. The movement was also a watershed moment in showing how to use social media to raise awareness about women’s issues.

Women’s movements across the Atlantic have also achieved major milestones over the past two years in Guatemala and Chile. A Guatemalan court prosecuted two former members of the military in February 2016 for harrowing sexual violence committed during the 1960 – 1996 civil war. These men were found guilty of crimes against humanity for sexually abusing 15 indigenous women in a historic ruling for rape survivors in Guatemala and sentenced to a combined 360 years in prison. This victory encouraged more women to present themselves and denounce their abusers. This victory encouraged more women to present themselves and denounce their abusers. Many women’s groups are working together today to break the silence surrounding sexual violence and promote legislative change.

A Chilean women’s movement known as Mujeres en Marcha Chile helped drive the passage of a new law under certain circumstances that legalizes abortion in August 2017. This was a major victory in a country where women have been calling for abortion rights for decades, signaling that the door could now be open for further reform.

Inspired by their domestic successes, some women’s groups also address transnational issues. For example, following the U.S. President Donald Trump re-established the so-called ‘global gag rule’ that prevents the provision of information to foreign organizations receiving U.S. family-planning funds rom the provision of legal abortion information, referrals or services or advocating access to abortion services, Mujeres en Marcha Chile has begun to work to undo the harm of this policy and to ensure that women have access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Also inspired by and inspiring transnational women’s movements, the Women’s March, which began as an American response to Trump’s election. Millions of women marched on every continent in major cities in January 2017. Once again, the anniversary drew millions into the streets this January. These marches engaged women who had not previously felt willing or able to participate in political processes, and they increased women’s activism’s visibility.

The # MeToo movement is building in a number of places directly on top of pre-existing women’s rights conversations. For example, in Iran, the women’s movement has been a major presence since the 1905–11 constitutional revolution, when women organized to push for access to education and political rights. During the Iranian Revolution of 1979, women were active in denouncing the corruption of the shah. Although they were subsequently silenced by the new regime, they still fought back through the press and politics. And in 2009, women were again at the forefront of the Green Movement, demanding the removal of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The iconic image of Neda Agha-Soltan, a young woman who was gunned down during the protests, served as a rallying call for women across the Middle East. Then, in 2014, the “My Stealthy Freedom” movement took hold, as Iranian women took photographs of themselves without the hijab in public places to subversively question the fabric of morality through which the regime seeks to govern. Many credit this movement with laying the foundation in December and January for the anti-government protests that rocked the country. It certainly helped the women’s movement to negotiate more lax rules on the hijab successfully.

# MeToo explored a conversation already taking place in Iran through # My Stealthy Freedom and other forms of organization. In response to Milano’s call in October, Iranian actresses, activists, and allies started talking on social media about # MeToo, speaking out against their harassers, and posting photographs of themselves wearing white hijabs, which is a call for peace. This has sent the regime a strong message about young Iranian women’s determination.

In Egypt, as a result of their prominent role in the Arab Spring, many women experienced physical and sexual assault, arrest, and even exile. Nevertheless, they persisted and opened a new women’s rights dialogue. For example, in 2011, the # Nude Photo Revolutionary movement began with young women posting photographs of themselves to make a political statement about agency, morality, and autonomy. Today, # MeToo serves as a powerful call for action for women on Tahrir Square’s frontlines as they continue to push for sexual and reproductive rights.

In India, a country still reeling from the horrific gang rape and murder of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in 2012, the # MeToo movement has also taken off. Immediately after this incident, as women’s groups organized to demand legal reforms on sexual violence, numerous protests broke out. These groups succeeded in rapidly pursuing legislative change in the courts, but women still felt it was not sufficient. Activists call for further legal reforms under # MeToo’s banner, which will protect those who speak up and impose harsher punishments on perpetrators. The widespread use of the hashtag has revealed the painful extent of sexual violence in their country, as activists in India note. The hashtag is also used by a number of Indian women’s groups to expose politicians, actors, and other power brokers who have long history of sexual violence. #MeToo offers hope, says mother of Delhi gang rape victim. ‘The winds of change are blowing, more women are empowering themselves. I feel hopeful when I see so many women speaking up.’ Singh’s daughter, a 23-year-old physiotherapist trainee, died after being raped by a gang on a moving bus, in a case that triggered global outrage and forced Indian authorities to tighten sex crime laws. She said her daughter helped prompt national soul-searching on Indian women’s treatment and brought their safety discussions into the living rooms of individuals.

The #MeToo movement has created a necessary disruption of our male dominated culture. The point of the work women around the world done with the ‘ me too movement ‘ over the past decade is to let women, especially young colored women, know they’re not alone – it’s a movement. There’s more than a hashtag. It is the beginning of a broader conversation and a radical community healing movement. It saddens me that, while being victimized and unsupported when speaking out, women felt safer to be silent for so long. If we can measure what a society values by what and who it protects, we are well overdue to demonstrate a real value for women’s life and safety. Most of my age women have stories to tell, but they are not limited to us. It appears that young women face many of the same issues.

Voices for change is so important as has been pointed out by many commentators, # MeToo is linked to events in all around the world. However, the movements that paved the way and carry the message forward are just as important. Movements build across borders and over time. Durable change is possible thanks to the concerted efforts of activists around the world. The discourse is already shifting as youth speak out against oppression and embrace new gender and sexuality standards. The #MeToo movement’s global success has shown that women’s groups are organized, networked, and building on the efforts and achievements of each other. As women raise their voices together, their terrifying stories become a coherent and determined voice of change, drowned out for so long.

Evaluation

During my research process, I found that I encountered successes and difficulties. I found out that in terms of successes I was quite determined in sourcing out information that wasn’t from the material provided. I had no problem with going out of my way to find sources based on my questions. This part of the process was one of the most enjoyable part for myself as I got to learn more about #MeToo as I went through the sources. This research process made me go out of my way to find sources, a bit more confident in my skills and had given me a sense of independency. Another success was that, I was able to sort through my information efficiently. As I was able to add and exclude some of the information that I found suitable for my focusing questions the most. The sources I collected, it didn’t take me long to identify what were the main points.

The challenges I faced during my research process was that I did struggled a bit to find information however, at the end I was able to get some useful resources to help me out. This made the research process more interesting for me which helped gain more information and when it came to writing notes I had a better understanding of what the sources were talking about and could go into depth of it

One of the strengths I had throughout this research internal was time management (which was one of my weaknesses as well). This meant that I had a clear understanding of what I was going to do in a specific period of time that helped me stay in touch and know how to get started. One of the things that went well for me was that I collected useful information on websites other than books or articles because there were a wide range of sources on the websites for each of my questions.Once I noticed that for each of my questions I collected enough information that made it easier for me to write down the main points and extend it later.

Trying to find prespectives was one of the weaknesses I had during this research assignment. This was because I was uncertain about what to write, just as most sources were similar in terms of the information they contained. Another reason why it took me long was because I left perspectives to do it at the end therefore I wasn’t able to ask the teacher for feedback about my prespectives because I didn’t completed any. In my opinion I think it would have been easier if I did my prespectives as I researched and add anymore details later which would have been easier rather then leaving it till the end. Another weakness was time management, this year I struggled the most in remaining consistent with internal this year.

The information I gathered from the webpages are reliable and accurate because the sources I gathered for my questions I made sure that the information matched them up. It is also reliable on website because the information repeat itself in several other websites which shows the information is valid and reliable. I also checked the reliability of some of my sources by finding out about the author and comparing their resources to other sources to determine consistency and look for anything that is biased.  

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