Roundtable: Don't lose focus on #MeToo campaign

By now, we’ve most likely all seen the coming and going of the latest viral campaign. For the past few days, #MeToo has flooded Facebook feeds and taken over Twitter users' timelines. Almost a week later, since the campaign's revitalization most of the posts have been overwhelmed by other stories and thoughts. As a result, the momentum surrounding an incredibly important topic seems to have slowed considerably.

In my opinion, this is the worst thing that could possibly happen. 

Please don’t misunderstand, I wholeheartedly support the #MeToo campaign. I think it’s an incredible show of bravery and support and am completely on board with anyone who chooses to participate. Opening up about difficult events is hard and it’s also vitally important. Seeing the sheer volume of people who have taken part and posted the hashtag is something real and concrete, demonstrating just how widespread and pervasive the issues of sexual assault and harassment are. 

But news channels have inevitably started to focus back on Donald Trump, politics and current events. As a result, Harvey Weinstein and his horrible treatment of women has sadly become “old news” with our collective attentions shifting.

The problem with the #MeToo campaign has nothing to do with its message. The problem deals with what comes next. How do we keep the momentum alive? How do we keep the conversations going? How do we convince people to speak up and say something the next time they know, or even think they know that this kind of abuse is going on? How do we end this culture of silence? 

Even though there have been so many stories shared, #MeToo has no endgame. The Ice Bucket Challenge raised money, and while it most definitely faded out like any other internet fad, the money that was raised for ALS research remains. During the viral internet campaign #FeedtheDeed, the good deeds that were done persist today and the money that was raised is tangible. #MeToo is an amazing, eye-opening start to solving a problem, but it doesn’t have the same goal as other internet campaigns.

I don’t say this presuming to know how to fix the issue of sexual violence. I don’t ask these questions with the answers at my fingertips. I write this because the more people who think about this will result in more possible answers. This issue is too important to let it be a memory Facebook alerts us about a year from today. It’s too big and it affects too many. It’s hard for me to know how to end this piece, but I do know this issue is a war, and it won’t be won with one viral campaign.

Sydney Wilson is a fourth year film student.

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