By Indira Midha
On Tuesday, September 18, Tarana Burke gave a talk at Foellinger Auditorium for University of Illinois students and community members. Tarana is the founder of the “Me Too” movement, providing survivors of sexual harassment or sexual assault with a supportive community, and the appropriate language to express their experiences in a safe environment. Here are a few of my favorite things that she said in her talk:
“Me Too” was born out of the empathy that people need in moments of being distraught.
This is a fantastic sentiment to apply to any difficult situation. When people are distraught, they need empathy. It is essentially as simple as that, regardless of what the issue is. She stated throughout her talk, “’me too’ are words grounded in empathy.”
Young girls often not only don’t have the language to express what has happened to them, but they often don’t even know how to process it.
Education on this topic has been growing throughout the past few years in schools, but it is important to continue placing an urgent emphasis on teaching all young people about this topic. It is also essential to provide resources to them if they find themselves needing support on this issue.
We don’t see sexual violence as a public health issue.
This needs to change. It is a public health issue.
This is not a movement about the perpetrators. This is a movement about the survivors.
This movement is about giving survivors a place to heal and tell their truths. That is the premise of it.
You don’t get a Harvey Weinstein without a corporation behind him prioritizing his economic value over the lives that he hurt.
This is something that we should all internalize. In this problem area, there is no neutral ground. You are either with the victim or survivor, or you’re with the perpetrator.
Your story does not need to be told in order to be valid.
That is the beauty of this movement; you can express your empathy through saying “Me Too” and not have to divulge the details of your traumatic experience.
When we call this a women’s movement, we are excluding so many survivors.
This is a movement for survivors, many of whom happen to be women. But there are so many men and individuals with identify with a non-binary gender who have also had these experiences. They are absolutely part of this movement too. This is a movement for survivors; all survivors.
Featured image is from Kinja.