by Hillary Twiford, news editor
A revolutionary movement sparked a conversation in 2017 about sexual harassment and appropriate behavior towards other people. A group of individuals, called the Silence Breakers by Time magazine, are those who have dealt with sexual assault/harassment and have stepped forward to hold their attackers responsible. A recent issue of Time details accounts of courageous men and women who decided to share their stories of experiencing sexual assault and harassment.
Sexual misconduct is a serious problem that prominently resurfaced in 2017. The “#MeToo” movement began with activist Tarana Burke in 2006, but the phrase was popularized by actress Alyssa Milano with her tweet, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
Over 68,000 people replied to the tweet in over three months. The enormous number of people who have come forward and keep coming forward exposes a pressing problem with today’s society. Over 80 women have accused film producer Harvey Weinstein alone of assault. Weinstein was one of the first men to fall due to accusations, many other powerful men going down after him. Even though some accusations have come from the past, they should still be considered seriously.
“I think there would be a lot of guilt and shame of “what did I do?” I think it’s good no matter how far from the the past,” said junior high social studies teacher Mrs. Kara Bechtel.
Finally, people are being held accountable for their own actions. Admittedly, some will not change their ways and will continue to neglect the consequences. However, it should be society’s duty to hold them to the same standards as everyone else, with no regard for status or wealth. This inexcusable behavior cannot continue. Men and women do not deserve to suffer because of sexual misconduct, so we should no longer discourage them from sharing their stories.
“The #MeToo movement, I think that one makes me the most sad,” said science teacher Mrs. Melissa Statman. “Victims of of sexual assault in the past did not have the support they need to heal from that tragic situation.”
Similarly, on Jan. 20, one year after Donald Trump was elected president and the first anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March, people flooded the streets of hundreds of cities, such as New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and more. The protests were spawned from Trump and his administration’s policies on controversial issues, including immigration and healthcare. Others took to the streets to protest civil and women’s rights, as well as sexual harassment and assault.
“I agree with the women marching and I believe they should be speaking out about how they should be treated. I hope the men that aren’t acting appropriately are paying attention,” said business and technology teacher Mr. Tim Houck.
In 2017, the world was reminded that sexual assault and harassment is a frequent, yet devastating occurrence. The Silence Breakers shaped the movement that began a serious discussion of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and the common workplace. In 2018, we have to keep moving forward as a society and hope the movement does not stop until sexual assault does.
Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School