#MeToo: Hearing From a Silence Breaker

The #MeToo movement has grown into an international effort to raise awareness and fight sexual violence against women and girls.

Tarana Burke is one of the people cited by Time magazine as part of the Silence Breakers. (Photo courtesy of The University of Akron)

Tarana Burke is one of the people cited by Time magazine as part of the Silence Breakers. (Photo courtesy of The University of Akron)

By Megan Parker, News Contributor

Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, will be speaking in the Student Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. on April 17, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Women’s Studies program speaker series.

The event is free to attend and open to the public. There will be a 20-minute question and answer period after Burke’s presentation.

Megan Parker
A flyer promotes the event on The University of Akron campus.

Mary Triece, director of the Women’s Studies program, said the main message of this event is to remind people that sexual assault exists and that people should not be afraid to speak up about their experiences.

“Sexual violence against women has been a part of society for centuries,” Triece said. “And although women have spoken out and struggled against it for as long, it has only been in recent decades that the wider public has taken notice.”

Senior Megan Delong, a Sociology, Criminology and Law Enforcement major, said she wants people to learn about sexual violence and discuss ways to stop it in the future.

“As students on a college campus, where a lot of sexual harassment/ assault happens, we are at the forefront of this movement,” Delong said. “We should be the ones advocating for our safety the most.”

Students who attend the event will have the opportunity to learn about daily struggles faced by women and girls, as well as how to be a part of the movement to end sexual violence, Triece said.

“Men and women should attend this event. Sexual assault against women and girls is an issue that affects all of us,” Triece said. “We should work in solidarity to end sexual assault and violence.”

Freshman Jessica Weetman, a Political Science major, said she believes people will become inspired after hearing from Burke, who is a survivor of sexual assault and an activist against sexual violence.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Burke coined #MeToo in 2006, after a short conversation with a girl who had been sexually assaulted, because she wanted to help girls and women of color who were also sexual violence survivors.

The movement gained popularity in 2017 when Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

Actress Alyssa Milano’s tweet seven days after the first accusation of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein.

In December of 2017, Time magazine named “The Silence Breakers” — people who have shared their experiences as survivors of sexual assault and harassment — as its Person of the Year.

#MeToo continued to spread through social media when celebrities and other prominent public figures shared their experiences of sexual harassment. Since then, millions of women and girls have spoken out about their stories.

Delong said it is important to watch the news surrounding sexual violence in order to be better advocates for consent and safe work environments.

“The #MeToo movement is important today because sexual harassment and assault are still happening, after years and years of seeing it on our local news all the way to national media,” Delong said.

Multiple events and activities will be taking place on campus for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Click here for a complete list of events and activities.