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Supporting the Symbol

Why "#MeToo" is not a cry for attention

By Allison Munder Contributor

The #MeToo movement has opened up the conversation on sexual harassment across the globe. More women are coming out every single day not only with their stories, but with the names of powerful men who have done them wrong. Even men, like actor Terry Crews, have come out with their own stories of being sexually harassed by other men. But is this movement righteously calling out people in the wrong, or just professional tattling?

The intention for the #MeToo movement is to call out people, no matter what sex or gender, for sexual harassment.

French actress Catherine Deneuve and other 99 French women recently published an open letter in the French daily newspaper “Le Monde” expressing their dislike of the #MeToo movement. They claimed that it has become a “man hating” trend and denies women their sexual power. Deneuve additionally stated that although she does believe rape is a crime, “trying to seduce someone, even awkwardly, is not.”

Here’s my problem with those statements. The intention for the #MeToo movement is to call out people, no matter what sex or gender, for sexual harassment. Women can also be accused of sexual harassment. It’s not a “man hating trend.” It’s finally time to call out everyone and anyone who is a part of the problem, and speaking out is part of the solution. If we criticize them, the problems gets worse.

Out of every 1,000 sexual assaults in 2014, only 310 were reported to the police, according to Bureau of Justice statistics. This means that two out of three cases went unreported.

Why don’t people report sexual assault to people like other crimes? Out of fear. Fear of losing a job, fear of being blamed, fear of additional violence and fear of slandering their own name by being the person who “asked for it.” So people don’t speak out.

You can be sexually liberated and still speak up about sexual harassment.

The French women in the article also express fear of the movement limiting women's’ sexual liberation.

You can be sexually liberated and still speak up about sexual harassment. Women are more sexually liberated, more in control of their own bodies and are using them however they please and that is exactly why they’re speaking up. Sexual liberation is about doing whatever you want with your body. By speaking up about sexual harassment, you’re also taking control of your body.

It is important to be educated on the definitions of sexual harassment and rape for both men and women. Don’t blame the accusers for calling out men who abuse their power. That is exactly what takes women a step back. Speak out.