#MeToo movement provides voice to voiceless

Camille Botello, Staff writer

I couldn’t have been older than nine years old the first time it happened, the first time a grown man who should have known better made an advance on me.

Since then I’ve been lucky, comparatively. I’ve only been sexually harassed three other times in my life, and no one has physically assaulted me. The sad reality is that many women and some men have been brutally, unforgettably sexually abused in their lifetimes.

The recent #metoo viral movement that has 4.7 million people talking on Facebook originated with Tarana Burke in 1996 after a young girl confessed her assault. “Her ‘stepdaddy’ or rather her mother’s boyfriend… was doing all sorts of monstrous things to her developing body. …I was horrified by her words,” Burke said in an interview with CNN.

Now, after Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has been accused of rape and offering to advance careers for sexual favors by a multitude of women, we see the viral movement once again.

Women and some men gathered in solidarity on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to contribute to the awareness of the magnitude of this problem.

 Thank you to everyone who has spoken out, reported your assaults and shed light on this epidemic. You are brave and you have worth. You have given voices to the voiceless and you have potentially saved young people from future encounters of sexual violence and harassment.

But the problem with rape culture is not just simply about survivors emerging from their psychological nightmares. The responsibility of ending this shameful and cowardly trend lies with the perpetrators of these acts. Yes, it’s important to teach our daughters to be safe, but don’t you think it’s more important to teach our sons not to rape people?

Since consent seems to be one of the more perplexing conversations we’re having, let’s start from the beginning. No matter how you dress, how much you drink or how many times you’ve been intimate before, no means no. And the most wild thing is that, and some may want to sit down for this, consent can be taken away at any time.

It’s not fair that every time I go on a run I’m afraid of getting ambushed by someone on the side of the road, and that I’m skeptical when I go to a guy friend’s room to study. It’s not fair that when a guy offers that I don’t even lift it past my chin for fear of getting roofied. It’s not fair that the cultivation of rape culture compels me to live in fear.

It’s easy for men to feel ostracized from this conversation when people turn it into an “all men are at fault” type of overgeneralization, but it should be the opposite.

Upstanding men who would never commit such horrendous acts should be sickened by the fallacies being spread by rape culture, outraged that having sex without consent somehow makes them more manly. If men want to dispel the brand they wear, they need to start outwardly denouncing the very undertone of this culture in their daily lives by calling out their friends for demeaning any person. And women should muster the courage to do the same.      

Let’s be the generation that teaches our kids about consent with no confusion, let’s not worry about sending them off to college, and let’s certainly not let them idolize an orange man that thinks he can grab women by their anything.