(Photo: Tarana Burke)
By: Maggie Dennehy, Staff Reporter
I’m sure many of you have gotten used to seeing my name on the promotional and summary pieces on Regis’ own Violence Prevention Program. Writing for VPP is something I hold close to my heart at all times. My interest and passion for writing and supporting the program ties close to my personal experiences on and off this campus. Some of you may remember me from last spring, as I opened up about my experiences with domestic abuse and assault. My first conversations and acceptance of my past happened right here, on this campus, within the Violence Prevention Office. This then transcribed to my public display at both V-Day and The Survival Panel, which has brought me so much strength.
This week, a hashtag blew up on all social media platforms. #MeToo called for survivors of sexual harassment and assault to simply post the tag on their profiles to bring attention to the weight of this ever-growing problem. Not only did survivors post the tag, but millions of women and men came forward to tell their stories of survival. Although this surge was reignited recently by Charmed actress, Alyssa Milano, the Me Too movement has been in motion for over a decade now.
The initial movement began in 2006 when Tarana Burke identified the saying as a “survivor to survivor” tactic to expose unity, and to prove that survivor healing was a process, but completely obtainable. Her goal was to assist women, especially women of color, who have been affected by sexual violence and violent relationships. Burke is currently working on a documentary titled “Me Too,” which is set to premiere sometime next year.
Over this past weekend, Alyssa Milano tweeted:
“me too. Suggested by a friend: if all women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too.’ as their status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
In two days, the hashtag was used over a million times, and widespread across the globe.
In response to this, male activists began to come forward using the #HowIWillChange, bringing out important aspects to the role men play in facing this problem. Users stated that they will continue to respect survivors by believing and supporting them, call out other men on sexist behaviors, and show their daughters how partners should respect and honor one another.
As far as how the Regis community can support this movement, continue to support your survivor friends! The scariest part of being a survivor is not being believed. I believe you, and I stand with you.
For questions, comments, concerns, and support resources….
Regis Violence Prevention Program
Jalisa Williams (VPP Coordinator)
Student Center, 200-D