After two months of empowering women to stand up against sexual harassment and assault perpetrators, ‘the silence breakers’ have gained recognition through Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ title.
A global movement saw women all over the world voice their stories involving abuse from powerful men. Previously, these woman have held their silence due to fear or embarrassment, but ‘the silence breakers’ represent an important conversation that started with bravery and courage.
The #MeToo movement absolutely took off on a huge scale, immersing an important message into the social media arena. With the use of such popular public platforms, the movement was able to reach people of all ages and demographics, sparking widespread awareness.
The Me Too idea was coined by Tarana Burke, after she was initially moved by a 13 year old girl’s story about sexual abuse. Two decades ago, Burke was first inspired to help victims of sexual harassment and assault, which resulted in her eventual establishment of Just Be Inc.
After Tarana was able to secure the resources she needed to further her passion, the not-for-profit organization provided her with a way to actually make a difference to the lives of victims.
The hashtag burst into the social media limelight in October, after its promotion by actress Alyssa Milano.
The initial investigations into big-time movie producer Harvey Weinstein also helped to propel the movement and urge victims into action. The New York Times and the New Yorker are accredited for publishing these investigations in October, generating considerable momentum for #MeToo.
The hashtag acted as a declaration, attempting to expose the magnitude of the problem to society. Users spread their stories across various social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
The involvement of so many people created a more comforting environment for speaking up, with people all around the world offering their support and reassurance.
The movement has translated into physical results, with many powerful men being fired from their jobs and some even facing criminal charges. Amazingly, Today’s workplace was even stirred by the movement, with one of NBC’s most recognized personalities being fired after allegations of sexual harassment.
Time chooses its annual Person of the Year based on who they believe has exerted the greatest influence throughout that period. ‘The silence breakers’ have undoubtedly created a big noise and raised awareness for an issue that is still so prevalent in society today.