In the last two months, millions of women and some men have spoken out and shared their stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault on social media with the hashtag #MeToo. This week, Time Magazine named The Silence Breakers Time’s Person of the Year. While high profile stories of movie stars, musicians and powerful women and men have grabbed the attention of the media in recent weeks, it is the stories of ordinary people from all walks of life that have transformed #MeToo from a hashtag to a movement. Millions of voices are coming together to say that silence is no longer acceptable, victims must be heard and change needs to happen.
While we acknowledge the strength and courage of the millions of individuals who have spoken about their experiences with #MeToo, we must also not forget those women and men who have not spoken out for fear of not being believed, losing jobs or stalling careers or continued physical, verbal and emotional violence. We must be a voice for those who do not have a voice.
Whether or not you have personally been the victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault, now is the time to come together and take action. Here are a few ways we can all, women and men alike, speak out and be a voice for others:
- Show your support for individuals who share their stories. Victims’ stories need to be heard and believed.
- Advocate for legislation that protects the rights of victims and holds perpetrators accountable.
- Use the Women’s Empowerment Principles, specifically Principle 3, to advocate for workplace policies that promote a zero-tolerance policy toward all forms of violence at work, including verbal and/or physical abuse and sexual harassment.
- Speak up when you see others being harassed verbally or physically. Silence is not acceptable.
For far too long, victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault have lived in silence and fear. Today, we speak up and take action for all those who have said #MeToo and for all those whose stories remain untold.