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  • Tarana Burke began her journey for justice in 1998, when she ran support groups for sexual abuse survivors in Philadelphia and Alabama.

    Tarana Burke began her journey for justice in 1998, when she ran support groups for sexual abuse survivors in Philadelphia and Alabama. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 October 2018

Undue focus to individual perpetrators and the media’s insatiable thirst for drama have obscured the mission and pushed victims to the sidelines.

Hundreds of thousands around the globe have adopted the #MeToo hashtag, however, after a year of publicizing painful memories, Founder Tarana Burke says the movement has lost its way.

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Burke told The Cut: “What actually happened on October 15 [2017] was people raised their hands to say, ‘Me too.’ “They opened up and said, ‘Yeah this happened to me.’ And it was millions of people from all walks of life, every stripe, and I really feel like those people still have their hands up.”

In its first year, the #MeToo movement was such a success, because it provided victims a ready-made support group which “automatically gets you, automatically believes you, automatically wants to hear you.," Burke said.

However undue focus to individual perpetrators and the media’s insatiable thirst for drama and “salacious stories” have obscured the mission and pushed victims to the sidelines.

“We have to shift the narrative that it’s a gender war, that it’s anti-male, that it’s men against women, that it’s only for a certain type of person — that it’s for white, cisgender, heterosexual, famous women. That has to shift. And I think that it is shifting, I really do. But that’s a part of our work, too,” Burke said.

Burke’s daughter, Kaia Naadira, told The Cut, “I think this is a cultural movement, I think this is a movement that attacks rape culture which is something really prevalent in our society.”

Burke said, “My great hope that this work will do, we have so much to do and there are so many people committed to doing it.”

Although it may take another ten years, the New York native is confident that the #MeToo Movement can change the way sexual crimes are understood by culture, how the public responds to survivors, and how survivors are treated by society.

Burke began her journey for justice in 1998, when she ran support groups for sexual abuse survivors in Philadelphia and Alabama. In 2017, she contacted Black Twitter and raised awareness for her campaign, #MeToo, which within two days had over 15 million impressions.


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