Charlotte Hadfield

The #metoo Twitter Trend: calling out sexual harassment

This weekend, victims of sexual assault and harassment began trending on twitter as they united together to create a virtual movement, tweeting #metoo.

The hashtag has shown the extent of this issue across the world in an attempt to eradicate the stigma surrounding sexual harassment. It has also provided a support network for thousands of victims, showing them that they are not alone.

Although these are the obvious positives behind the twitter trend, is this really what it’s come down to? Do we now have to rely on a trend to make people listen?

Last month, Labour Shadow Minister Chris Williamson suggested that the previously proposed idea of women only train carriages could be a good solution to the increase in women being sexually assaulted on trains. What next? Women only queues in shops? Women only night clubs? Or shall we revert back to the days when women stayed at home while the man went out to work?

The toilet doors in my student union have had the words ‘“it’s only a grope” – no it’s sexual harassment, call it out’ plastered to the back of them since I started first year. Yet, I only have to walk into town on a Friday night and after two vodka cokes the guy at the bar thinks this is his queue to grab my bum as I try to walk past him. And, despite my best efforts to ‘call it out’ and confront him, this doesn’t stop the smirk from forming on his lips as he replies, telling me to ‘chill out.’ This doesn’t seem to make him understand that this is not ‘just a grope’, this is sexual harassment.

#metoo has given many the confidence to call out sexual harassment this weekend, but this didn’t stop TV star James Corden from spouting jokes about Harvey Weinstein at the amfAR gala in Los Angeles on Friday. Corden’s jokes seem to suggest, to his many fans and followers, that it’s okay to make light of sexual assault allegations.

While famous Hollywood females from Meryl Street to Judi Dench have recently condemned Harvey Weinstein for his alleged sexual harassment of women, this hasn’t encouraged many high-profile men in the industry to comment on the matter – even when requested to do so.

#metoo has not created a solution to the problem of sexual assault and harassment. Nor has it outed the offenders of these crimes. But what it has done is, highlight the desperate need for a solution.

So, it seems that the real question isn’t then why are they tweeting – but rather, who’s listening?

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