The Twittersphere is rumbling with the battle cries of thousands of people taking a stand against sexual assault.
Thousands of people are joining the conversation using the hashtag #MeToo. This poignant movement is happening as the story unfolds surrounding the dozens of sexual assault and rape allegations against Hollywood film producer, Harvey Weinstein. #MeToo is unveiling the extent of sexual assault across the world. The number of women coming forward to take a stand is unprecedented, revealing the true magnitude of the problem. Not only is it an issue of sexual violence towards women, but the movement has also encouraged some men and non-binary people to talk about their experiences of sexual violence too- proving that it is an issue which can affect everybody.
Before #MeToo began trending, however, something else was taking off: #WomenBoycottTwitter. This was a call for women to take part in a Twitter blackout in protest of the site banning Rose McGowan, an actor who spoke openly about the Weinstein case online (it’s not actually clear why she was banned). Many women began to push back on Friday, questioning why they were choosing silence instead of speaking out, when women’s voices have been silenced so much in the past.
Then came Alyssa Milano with an alternative:
…. Gaining momentum overnight, the Tweet has encouraged people to speak up about objectification and assault in their own industries and other areas of their personal lives revealing the true extent of the problem. This proves that it is not only firmly rooted within the culture of Hollywood but endemic in society as a whole. What’s worse, it’s going unnoticed, unreported, and unpunished.
According to Safeline, 1 in 4 women are survivors of rape or sexual abuse and for men, it’s 1 in 6.
That means, statistically speaking, that everyone knows somebody who has experienced sexual assault or rape but chances are, they don’t know about it.
These are the statistics that we are aware of. There are thousands of unreported cases of assault, rape and harassment that slip under the radar because unfortunately rape culture is so normalised. That being said, there are many reasons why people may not report it; maybe they feel intimidated. Maybe they think they won’t be believed or maybe in the case of workplace assault, they think speaking out about it will have a detrimental effect on their career (as we’re seeing in Hollywood, right now).
So, what do I do?
If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault or rape, it’s really important that you do tell someone. Don’t worry, you don’t have to take to Twitter and join the #MeToo parade, no one is asking you to go public about your ordeal unless you choose to, but it’s important that you seek help from somewhere.
There are several different ways you can access support:
Tell someone who you trust – a family member, a friend, a teacher, a co-worker. Anyone – you deserve to be listened to.
Seek medical help – you can talk to your GP confidentially or any sexual health clinic, drop-in centre or hospital. Even if you feel fine, it’s imperative that you speak to a medical professional.
Speak to the Police – you can either call them, speak to someone in person or report online through Victim Support – Sexual assault and rape are very serious crimes that shouldn’t go unreported.
Get help online or on the phone – there are countless amazing organisations run by experts who can help you, support you and advise you on what to do next. Click on the links below to find out more information and talk 1-to-1 with a specially trained advisor:
We’re Here for You
Alternatively, you can speak with a Ditch the Label mentor who can support you. Whatever you choose to do, we’re here for you.