The ‘me too’ hashtag was initially used on social media in 2006 and it took a while to gain momentum. It was not until 2018 and that it gained international recognition. The me-too hashtag has now been shared around the world. The movement was initially about women sharing their stories of sexual assault in order to make people more aware of violence against women and bring those responsible to justice. Since, men have also come forward with their own stories of sexual violence. Many people have come together to file class-action lawsuits against their perpetrators. Where one voice was not enough, many coming together have succeeded. People coming together and sharing their stories has always been a powerful force for change. For more information about  class actions follow the link.

me too

The problem with sexual misconduct claims

Often they are difficult to prove, especially when someone comes forward years after the alleged crime. Furthermore, the statute of limitations on sexual misconduct crimes can be as little as a year depending on the severity of the crime. Mr. Weinstein’s trial began this year and is one of the only cases with recent enough allegations to go to court. Many women still feel that they are unable to get justice. But with the outcome of Mr. Weinstein’s trial still uncertain, women know that by coming together they have already damaged his reputation and career forever. 

This has brought a different type of allegation into play

That of defamation lawsuits. Where men are claiming that they did not commit the crimes in question and that their names are being slandered unjustifiably. For those men who are wrongly accused, this is an important thing for them to be able to do as the backlash against those accused is intense. However, at other times this can be used as a scapegoat. Some men may be able to file for a defamation lawsuit only because the statute of limitations on their alleged crimes has passed. This means that they cannot be tried, whether they did it or not. 

The me-too movement has been an important movement in violence against men and women.

Hopefully, more women should feel that they can come forward after a crime has taken place. It has also helped some men and women to be open about their experiences and face past trauma. For some, this could be a stressful experience but for others, it can be very healing. We also hope that fewer crimes will occur as everyone is more aware and educated on the subject.

 It has also brought to light the history of abuse in the entertainment industry in particular. And women are not the only victims, also very prevalent is the abuse of young boys. One big change seems to be the responsibility of others to report crimes. There has been global outrage over people in the entertainment industry knowing about sexual violence and doing nothing about it. This is a cultural shift that is sure to create real change. 

Going forward, more needs to be done to address sexual violence in general, particularly in men and boys. Change is possible and it is happening, but the me too movement is not done with yet. 

This is a contributed post




Claire Kirby

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