I work to maintain a positive atmosphere here on the blog and also on my social media, so for that sake I rarely discuss politics. This post is meant to serve as a catalyst for change regarding sexual misconduct and similar issues. It is an objective look at what the Me Too Movement has offered to our culture, the strides we have made to end sexual assault and make people responsible for their actions, and the work that has yet to be done. I will share my own thoughts and research on the subject, but more importantly I will use my voice here to argue that there is a lot of progress to be made, that we still face so many issues regarding this subject, and change is a necessity. Though I have omitted what I would consider triggering material from this post, I encourage any sensitive readers to proceed cautiously.
So roughly a year ago, actress Alyssa Milano took to twitter to invite anyone who has survived sexual assault to share the words “me too” on their social media as a message of solidarity after several sexual assault allegations in Hollywood and around the United States. The internet exploded with millions of posts across all platforms, and it seemed as though the message (regarding sexual assault and its massive prevalence) had been received.
At the time I doubted the effectiveness of this movement. It was amazing to see so many people, and many of my own friends, comfortably share their experiences. Yet something in me questioned whether the act of starting the conversation would end sexual assault or at least hold more people accountable for their actions. In my opinion, it has not, and there are plenty more work to be done.
With the recent case of Brett Kavenaugh and Dr. Ford, I noticed the words, “I Believe Her” all over the internet. However, I now find it safe to assume that believing a survivor is so different from taking action. A survivor can have so many supporters and believers in their story, but this is no longer an indicator that justice will be served. If anything, this case is now another reason for survivors to avoid speaking up.
If we believe a survivor’s story, would we not also hold the accused accountable and sentence them to the consequences that we have deemed standard? Why would our justice system find the savage acts of Brock Turner to be true, yet show him mercy with only three months of prison time?
There simply is more to be said and more to be done.
I will be honest I have a difficult time with this subject. The Me Too Movement is very important to me and I have very strong feelings about sexual assault though I am rarely so explicit. I find that the best ways that I can show my support and bring awareness is first through using my voice to echo the voices of other and second through art. I spent a significant portion of my life in dance and when I first heard Lady Gaga’s song, “Til It Happens To You” featured in the 2015 documentary, The Hunting Ground, I knew I had to choreograph my first group piece. Below is a link to our 2016 performance. I hope you find some meaning in it.
I would like to thank each of the dancers who collaborated with me on this project, as well as my friends who were so kind to film for us.
If you are struggling and would like to speak to a professional, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.