"There's No Story That's Unimportant": Tarana Burke Started #MeToo 10 Years Ago

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The movement surged in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal to show just how prevalent sexual assault and harassment is.

"Similar to the #YesAllWomen campaign, this is inviting people who've been sexually harassed and/or assaulted to step forward and share their story - to make this issue personal, and force the general public to recognize how pervasive sexual harassment and assault truly are". And hopefully, by Burke being credited correctly for her work, people who are unfamiliar with the particular challenges that people of color face when it comes to sexual assault will be inspired to learn and do more to help stop this abuse for all.

The company said that in less than 24 hours, 4.7 million people around the world have engaged in the "Me too" conversation, with more than 12 million posts, comments and reactions.

If you were on social media yesterday I'd be surprised if your Twitter and Facebook timelines were not flooded with #MeToo and brutal stories from women of all ages about what they've faced. Dealing with days' worth of headlines can feel especially overwhelming.

Burke is the founder of the Me Too movement, which aims to do exactly what the recent trending topic has done on social media: unify those who've been victimized by sexual violence.

"Seeing this many women coming out with their stories and sharing as little or as much as they want to about, is it incredibly empowering", said Shauna Galloway-Williams, Executive Director of Julie Valentine Center. "For other people, it can be incredibly triggering". At one job I had, a rude female co-worker who enjoyed making my life hell would yell at me to "stand up straight". And in no time, her simple tweet turned into a global campaign.

The 27-year-old says her friends are also upset that #metoo is "something that needs to be said so that other people can be aware of the situation". On Tuesday, men began using the popular hashtag to own up to having been a part of the problem as perpetrators of harassment.

"There's still such a stigma behind it", she said.

"I'm not going to join "Me Too" because I don't need to give people proof that it happened to me", she said.

It wasn't until this hashtag was appropriated by privileged white women in the entertainment industry that it gained traction and popularity amongst social media users. "For a lot of people, it leaves them feeling violated and vulnerable, so to open up to it is a very courageous act". She is quick to add victims do not owe their community, or news feed, their story. I was horrified by her words, the emotions welling inside of me ran the gamut, and I listened until I literally could not take it anymore... which turned out to be less than 5 minutes. She said, "Sexual harassment either takes place in the work place or school and that is an E.E.O.C. reportable offense".

On one hand, Palumbo said, it can be "uplifting" for survivors to see fellow survivors, for the most part, being believed and supported. "We need men to be involved in this conversation", she said.

It's common for survivors of any trauma to feel re-traumatized during and after tragedies.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2016 the rate of sexual assaults was five times higher in the N.W.T. than the national average.

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