One year since Me Too, What Next?
It’s been just over year since actress Alyssa Milano posted on Twitter: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” That came just a few days after stories by The New York Times and New Yorker about allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood film executive Harvey Weinstein.
Her tweet sparked a viral social media movement across the world, as #MeToo was born. As an offline movement, Me Too was actually started over 10 years ago by American civil rights activist Tarana Burke, but as an online movement it’s had a disruptive and lasting impact over the past 12 months.
The women, and men, who have been empowered by #MeToo to share their stories are brave, and we think it’s incredibly important that more people now feel able to speak out about sexual harassment. But, what next? Sexual harassment and violence have been sources of pain and suffering for centuries, it’s time for change.
We want to inspire people, and organisations, to take positive action and take responsibility for the culture of the world we live in.
New research from The Fawcett Society [link] has found that there’s been a shift in attitudes to sexual harassment over the last year, mostly among young people, and that a large percentage of people say that since #MeToo what is seen as acceptable has changed. And there are certainly more people that recognise sexual harassment as a big problem in the workplace. But there’s little evidence at the moment to show that this shift in attitudes has led to more people calling out inappropriate behaviour, or less cases of sexual harassment occurring.
In terms of pioneering change; the Government are lagging way behind. With endemic bullying and harassment within their own institution, plus resistance to putting through legislation against negative behaviours like “up-skirting” and misogyny. It seems that legal reforms are a way off yet, but we’re definitely in the midst of a cultural reckoning.
So, we believe it’s up to individual people and organisations to educate themselves on sexual harassment and violence, on what’s not ok, and what we can all do to make the world a better and safer place.
Let’s keep the momentum of the #MeToo movement going, but let’s channel it to achieve real change so that we can leave the world in a better state than it was when we came into it, for the benefit of future generations.
The time is now for a global culture shift.