#MeToo: Talking about Sexual Assault

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I woke up to Twitter yesterday to many tweets on #MeToo from people I know, and all of them were sharing their assault stories.

The #MeToo movement was started by actress Alyssa Milano, and the #MeToo hashtag has been used over 200,00 times, according to the BBC. It also went viral on other social media, like Facebook and Instagram.

People have used it as a social microphone to voice their sexual harassment stories, rape stories, stories about cat calls and violence at work, and even abuse stories. The thing is that so many people tweeting about it, gives us an idea how sexual assault is present in our everyday lives, and how we often chose to ignore it, and how many cases go unreported.

I posted on Instagram, that I was catcalled several times and someone posted that catcalls are normal and are not sexual harassment and I should not make a big deal out of it. Catcalls are a form of harassment, and this is why we need to raise awareness, because people tend to normalize it, and this is NOT okay. Rape is NOT okay. Any form of violence is NOT okay.

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Erin Caldarera‏ @erin_caldarera

It really hurts my heart that women have to post their #metoo story for us to grasp the gravity of rape culture.

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Reading those tweets made me realize that the rape culture is winning, and is killing so many people. Rape culture can be categorized into 4 categories.

The first one is victimization, which deals with sexist and rape jokes, and of course a denial that the rape culture exists, and people failing to realize the magnitude of any types of sexual assault. Then there is victim blaming which was perfectly illustrated in most of the tweets.

We then move to degradation which is in the form of catcalls, threats, revenge-porn, stalking. Many people said that they went through at least one of these, and at times, other people would not believe them, or they were told that all these are normal, just like I was told.

Then we have removal of autonomy: such as groping, unwanted touch, dosing. It's really alarming that so many people had to face this.

Finally, we have violence: rape itself, incest, honour killings. Seeing so many women from different age groups speaking up about their stories made me numb.

This resonates with the fact that the 4 elements of rape culture are stuck in our society and we need to bid farewell to this culture, once and for all. Twitter flooding with #MeToo tweets, raised a warning alarm that we need to tackle this problem with practical solutions, because sexual assault is NOT a joke, and more than half of the women out there have experienced it.

To all those men and boys, who shared their abuse stories, thank you for being brave, and raising your voice, to everyone who tweeted, let me tell you that you are strong and powerful and you are not a victim, but a survivor, and I am sorry that you had to go through all this. Thanks, to those who did not turn it into a #NotAllMen mess, and who acknowledged that it's not always men vs women but equality vs patriarchy, equality vs rape culture, humans vs perpetrators.

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Kailash Satyarthi‏ @k_satyarthi

#MeToo is a reflection of the social and cultural revolution that is sweeping the world. The victims are shedding the stigmatisation. We will not allow our children and women to be invalidated by societal constructs. I stand with you all til we end this.

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Reading all the tweets, captions and posts made me speechless.

And yes, Me too.

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