“What history has shown us time and again is that if marginalized voices — those of people of color, queer people, disabled people, poor people — aren’t centered in our movements then they tend to become no more than a footnote. I often say that sexual violence knows no race, class or gender, but the response to it does. “Me too.” is a response to the spectrum of gender-based sexual violence that comes directly from survivors — all survivors. We can’t afford a racialized, gendered or classist response. Ending sexual violence will require every voice from every corner of the world and it will require those whose voices are most often heard to find ways to amplify those voices that often go unheard.” - Tarana Burke
The #MeToo movement has caused a giant media outbreak, however, there are individuals who feel that it is whitewashed and used for publicity. The movement was originally created by a woman of color ten years ago and only recently nationally recognized because of the sexual harassment often found in Hollywood related to producers and men in power. Tarana Burke, the founder, started this movement in 2006 after she would sit in her favorite dinner and watch the black waitresses be harassed by the head cook. She loved the media the movement was getting when Harvey Weinstein’s victims stepped forward and she happily sat with the fact that it was being acknowledged. However, it got to a point where she realized that it was only happening because these women were white and well known to the general public. This has been happening to women of color for years going unknown and unrecognized. She wanted to know if the waitresses that she had witnessed getting assaulted had heard of #MeToo, and if they knew it included #UsToo.
R. Kelly’s victims have only just recently been heard after years and years of telling people that it was happening. The highest rate of sexual assault in America is centered on Native American women and statistics show that if you were to ask them, one out of every three has been raped in their lifetime. Non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, and black people are all statistically rated higher for being forced to have sex in their lifetime over white people. This isn’t trying to shut down the voice of the majority race, however, that’s the only reason that it was ever brought to the media’s attention and the only reason people actually started to listen and address the problem. This is a movement that was created to make all women feel safe, and it isn’t being presented as it should be. It’s so difficult to find the stories of women of color, especially in higher positions because they don’t talk about it. They don’t see themselves within the narrative of the #MeToo movement because they fear of sharing and not being heard because they aren’t white.
The media also tends to focus on the high drama and bad parts of assault because it gets more views. From what’s happening and from what’s shown within, they only seem to care about the horror and value the abuser more than the victim.
The media has affected the #MeToo movement and has created a stigma that the only way you’ll be heard is if your story is shared via social media and you can receive likes and sympathy from strangers. It becomes hard for victims because they want to share their story and they want others to step up and acknowledge their trauma even if it’s speaking to a trusted friend because they also deserve to share their story but it’s become more about publicity rather than purely making a statement so others don’t feel alone. They never should have their feelings invalidated just because they’re not a person with public attention. Burke wants to make it known that although sharing is important whether it’s to a journal, a friend, anyone that is trusted, the world; it is also important to take time to heal and to come to terms that this happened and that victims deserve that time to know that they’ll end up okay because bottling it in can affect them more than realized. For the one year anniversary, Burke created a website, part of her three-phase plan to help all victims feel valued. The website will have resources for allies and victims of sexual assault. It also includes survivor training leadership programs so they are able to create their own support groups. She does this in hopes of regulating the healing circle she started so many years ago. It’s time to make a difference in how the #MeToo movement is seen and heard.
Burke, Tarana. “Perspective | #MeToo Was Started for Black and Brown Women and Girls. They're Still Being Ignored.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 28 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/11/09/the-waitress-who-works-in-the-diner-needs-to-know-that-the-issue-of-sexual-harassment-is-about-her-too/.
Harris, Aisha. “She Founded Me Too. Now She Wants to Move Past the Trauma.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 Oct. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/arts/tarana-burke-metoo-anniversary.html.
Rowley, Liz. “#MeToo Founder Says the Movement Has Lost Its Way.” The Cut, The Cut, 23 Oct. 2018, www.thecut.com/2018/10/tarana-burke-me-too-founder-movement-has-lost-its-way.html.