Roundtable: #MeToo… And then what?

Sexual assault and harassment has a way of making one feel completely helpless and on their own. Thanks to the “#MeToo” campaign, people are beginning to come together, and seeing others share their experiences made me recall my own sexual assault this past summer.

While on exchange in Germany, I was frequently chatted with and asked for photos from strangers. So naturally, I was happy to oblige when a man asked me to take his photo in downtown Frankfurt. After doing this, he then asked someone else to take a photo of us together, for which I assumed the best: perhaps he was lonely. It was only once he grabbed me from behind during the photo, smirking as I shoved his arm away, that I realized his intentions.

For a solid week after this incident, I was lost in a pool of negative emotions and became quite cautious of strangers. Even though this was an act done to me by one person, I closed myself off from everyone. I hated that such a simple, tiny gesture made me feel so powerless, small and angry. I hated that my face was now on his phone to remind him of his success and that I didn’t think fast enough to grab his phone and delete that picture — or even smash the phone, like I really wanted to.

So yes, it’s great that people are coming together through the words “me too,” and accumulating support against an abuse of power that’s too often covered up by shame. I just hope, as everyone begins to understand just how much of a problem this is, we don’t let our feelings or ideas about people in this world be governed by the actions of a mere few.

“#MeToo” might be everywhere, but so is an incredible network of supportive friends, family and even random strangers who happily take excellent photos while keeping their hands on the camera. Embracing these people in our lives who deserve our trust can only enrich our everyday experiences.

The frequency of “#MeToo” can provoke distrust, but let’s instead use it as a reason to reach out even further. Let’s see just how many people rely on each other for strength and support. Let’s always assume the best in people, and then come together on the odd chance we happen to see the worst.

The real shame would be holding ourselves back from this.

Zoe Clarke is a third-year biology and music student.

For other reactions to #MeToo:

#MeToo is just the beginning of change

Don't lose focus on #MeToo Campaign

Impacts of the #MeToo Campaign


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