Roundtable: Impacts of the #MeToo Campaign

For many girls and boys out there, the inspiring #MeToo trend has spread a positive message across the world of social media. It's created a sense of togetherness and community amongst victims and survivors of sexual assault or inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Although we're aware of the statistics, this campaign has brought forward more victims and survivors of sexual assault. The movement has also revealed that some men themselves have been involved in unwanted sexual advances towards a girl and not even realized it. One woman I spoke to said, “it’s about freaking time,” when talking about the spread of the #MeToo campaign.

However, I’m not sure if people understand that there are negative impacts to this campaign. For some women out there who see this campaign all over their social media platforms, they’re triggered when reading stories that — for many of them — hit just a little too close to home.

I believe the impact runs deeper than most think. For one girl I know, this became an internal conflict in her mind.

While she wanted to post #MeToo to support these girls who are coming forward, she didn’t feel comfortable or ready to share her story. As a result, she began to feel social pressure to share her story because so many were doing the same.

People aren’t realizing that this campaign isn’t only putting strain on women who have been through enough trauma for a lifetime, but it’s putting people in a place where they become re-victimized and are forced to relive this over again.

Even though the #MeToo campaign is trending on social media, it can be just as triggering as any other regular-day event. This campaign can scar the mental state of some women just as much as watching an action movie, going to a club with friends, or even going to the grocery store can be. If you aren’t ready to share your story with the world — no matter the reason — that’s okay. There should never be shame on those who aren’t ready to share their story.

It’s important to remember this is an extraordinary campaign. It opens people’s eyes from all over the world to the realities of sexual assaults. However, a message from me to everyone who's had a negative sexual experience: not sharing #MeToo on your social media doesn’t make you less strong or less of a victim or survivor. You’re strong and you’re courageous. You don’t owe anyone your story.

Claire is a third-year English Literature major.

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