Reflections on Women's History Month 2018
This Women’s History Month, we celebrate the progress we’ve made while recognizing there is much more work to be done.
What a year it has been. Although organizations like ours have been loud and clear about the impact of sexual violence for decades, we are heartened that more and more people are speaking out.
Individuals and organizations are taking a stand and calling for tangible action. The “Me Too” movement, which was created over ten years ago by activist Tarana Burke, became the #MeToo hashtag and took on a life of its own in October of 2017. Space has been made for dialogue about sexual assault and harassment as all-too-common experiences among people across professions and backgrounds. We know that women and LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly women and LGBTQ+ people of color, disproportionately suffer from sexual violence, and people are voicing the need for change.
Survivors and supporters have agency and are working to hold perpetrators accountable. The Time’s Up movement was founded by Hollywood celebrities in January of 2018 as a concrete response to #MeToo and the outpouring of disclosures of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and elsewhere. Millions of dollars have been raised for a legal defense fund to help lower-income individuals access justice after suffering sexual harassment and assault in their places of work.
The openness that has been encouraged by #MeToo has illuminated a formerly secret part of many survivors’ lives and unites so many of us in a common, horrible experience. Now we have a shared understanding of how many people are impacted by sexual violence and we are emboldened to do something about it in greater numbers than before.
While we stand with and support the many boys and men who experience sexual trauma, we cannot deny the fact that women and LGBTQ+ individuals experience it much more frequently. Women and LGBTQ+ people of color experience assault even more frequently still. Sexual violence is part of the larger puzzle of patriarchy, white supremacy, power and control in our society. There are no quick and easy fixes; we must keep moving forward in the very best ways that we know how.
Women’s History Month exists, in part, to recognize and celebrate these efforts.
Systems change is going to take a long time, but #MeToo has created a sense of solidarity among women that has not been around for a long time...possibly not since the founding of the first rape crisis centers throughout the US in the 1970s. Greatness was created by that solidarity. What will happen as a result of this newest wave? MCRCC, for one, is hopeful for change.
The #MeToo movement and increase of media focus on sexual assault could understandably be an unwelcome reminder of past trauma to survivors. Please reach out to us at: 831-375-4357, or 831-424-HELP to talk to a trained Sexual Assault Counselor.