ME TOO MOVEMENT: A HEROIC CULPRIT OF RAPE CULTURE?
Author: Nandita, II Year of D.M.L.T From Rajendra Institute Of Medical Sciences (Rims), Ranchi
After centuries of silence, the time came to raise millions of sobbing voices. Tarana Burke, a sexual assault survivor, and an activist, in 2006 used the phrase “Me too” initially on ‘My space,’ a social media platform. The phrase at first used in this context to empower especially young women and support them through empathy.
Later, in October 2017, actress Alyssa Milano used the phrase as a hashtag. The purpose of using #Metoo was to unveil the magnitude of problems by encouraging women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to share such experiences altogether.
Millions of people used this phrase within a day on Twitter and Facebook. From there, this movement gained momentum and circulated to some other languages. The scope has become broader, and the purpose changes. Men who realized their mistakes used the hashtags, including #IDidThat, #IHave, to change the culture through personal reflection and future action. According to the statement of burke, this movement now has grown to include men, women, and LGBTQIA+, supporting marginalized people in marginalized communities.
How Is The Me Too Movement Heroic?
Although the Me too movement has suffered much criticism for false accusations and sexual misconduct, the movement has inspired many corporations. Some positive impacts are discussed below:
Confidential agreements: Several states, such as New York, New Jersey, California, etc., have enacted laws banning the misuse of such agreements in sexual misconduct.
Extend protection: Worker protection has enhanced its sexual harassment law in New York.
Times Up Legal protection Fund: It is too expensive to bring a harassment lawsuit. So, a total of $24 million funds has been raised by Times up that aided nearly 4,000 survivors.
End of the tipped minimum wage: Employers in restaurants and bars often suffer such harassment and lose their tips. So, the tipped minimum wage is ended by nearly seven states.
Protections for congressional staffers: legislation passed by Congress in 2018, making it easier to report sexual assault or harassment.
How Is The Me Too Movement Culprit?
False Allegations And Overcorrection
According to the US department of justice and other organization, around 2-10% of rape and sexual assault allegations were reported in the police stations after investigation are generally found false. This indicates that approximately 90% of rape allegations are authentic. However, when these false acquisitions come into the spotlight, it leaves a destructive impact on the movement. People started considering even actual cases as a false one. Women are more likely to get judged when they are assaulted or being sexually harassed. Sady Doyle used the hashtag #BeleiveWomen and commented that false accusations are less common than actual cases.
In January 2018, Tarana Burke came to realized that the backlash of this movement is inevitable. She maintained that the moment is not a witch hunt as people try to paint it.
She commented that rather than focusing on men who have not harassed or sexually assaulted anyone in reality and calling it for the end, one must engage with the cultural critique in the #MeToo movement. Ronan Farrow, who published about Weinstein in the New York times that contributed to the #Me too resurgence initiation, called for a detailed study of each story to recognize false accusations.
Adversity To Survivors
Because of some false accusations, me too movement has to suffer many criticisms. The phrase has also been criticized for lacking empathy in emotional communication and causing more exhaustion and outrage.
Uncertainty For Harassed Prostitutes
Women under prostitution suffer a higher rate of sexual harassment than any other community. Melissa Farley stated that even consensual prostitution for food or money or any other items could be comparable to assault. On stop enabling sex traffickers act (SESTA), experts imply that this will not offer sex workers any help or protection and put them at even more significant risks.
Incapability To Speak On Police Misconduct
Police sexual misconduct has affected myriads of transgender people and other women of color for lacking discussion in me too movement regarding law enforcement. The movement has also been criticized for putting specific cases accused of sexual misconduct in the spotlight for Public focus.
No Recognitions For Minority Women
Race and gender have always been blindly spotted, as said by an American feminist and journalist, Gloria Steinem. Although Tarana Burke has criticized the movement for ignoring the work of black women, other minority women got no recognition.
Why Is The Movement, A Heroic Culprit Of Rape Culture?
If one visits history, women are being blamed for every assault that happened with them. People usually question their clothes or their body language. Moreover, as some false accusations added up in me too movement, those stains become darker.
On one side, it was supporting women through empathy and unity. On the other side, despite having 90% real cases, the movement lost faith because of some fallacious allegations. Thus this moment can be considered as a heroic culprit of rape culture.
Despite getting tremendous success in exposing sexual misconduct, women continue to be assaulted at their workplaces. As per the sexual harassment of women at workplace act, 2013, every government and private organization must establish ‘an internal complaints committee to deal with such issues. If anyone experiences such harassment at work, a professional law attorney can protect their rights.