About that “Me, Too” meme

You’ve likely already heard about #MeToo, a viral social media response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood, which broke last week.

Having participated in the meme myself, there are three additional, important points that need to be made.

ONE: Not all women who have experienced sexual assault and/or sexual harassment feel comfortable speaking up online or in person, for myriad reasons. They may have social media ties, family links, or professional connections to their abusers. They may fear being mocked, ridiculed, derided, or dismissed.

Please don’t assume silence during this viral meme event means individual women you know aren’t concerned, don’t have stories to tell. Shame around the subject of sexual assault and sexual harassment — both speaking up and not speaking up — is a toxic part of our cultural baggage. One doesn’t *have* to speak up — indeed it may be painful, and what you do see in your feed may just be the tip of the iceberg.

TWO: Memes can raise awareness, but they don’t necessarily bring change. Women’s shelters and other programs (for women AND men* who experience sexual assault and harassment) do bring change. Give generously, as able.

THREE: Weinstein’s alleged crimes (yes, crimes — let’s not mince words) took place within an industry where it seems he could manipulate players and victims using power, norms, and even legal agreements. If all of the stories coming out are true (and I personally believe them), then he’s a workplace bully, too. So, this Hollywood news story is about workplace harassment which affects women’s earnings on top of everything else. Want change on that front? Where you can push back on that kind of behavior, do so. And don’t forget to look for and give to legal aid groups that work with sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment victims.

*A link re: sexual assault and transgender people is important here, too.