Ever since sexual assault allegations were brought up against movie producer Harvey Weinstein,  the hashtag #MeToo has gone viral and become an online space where women and men share are able to share their personal stories of sexual assault and harassment. The hashtag has been very popular in the wake of the Weinstein allegations, but it did not start there. More than 10 years ago, a women’s rights activist named Taranna Burke initially started the movement to bring awareness to a personal experience she had in childhood, when she witnessed a young girl she went to camp with get raped by her father. Rather than ignore the experience, Burke decided to see what she could do to help.

Burke soon realized the magnitude of the problems she was encountering and decided to spend her life bringing awareness to more sexual harassment cases. Fast forward to today, Weinstein’s actions has brought #MeToo back into the public’s eye. Thanks to multiple celebrities such as Gwenth Paltrow and Julia Roberts, thousands of women and men have been able to share their stories and bring attention to how prevalent sexual abuse and harassment is. This solidarity has sparked a conversation and helped enable victims to not feel scared or alone, and inspired them to reach out and share their stories. The #MeToo campaign has made people think of view sexual harassment in a new light, and see that it really can, and does, happen to anybody.

Students at LHS have taken note of the campaign. Junior Tyler Heaney states, “The #MeToo campaign has made me more cognizant of the horrors many women experience.” Plenty of others share Heaney’s thoughts, and it is hopeful that this awakening may make people think twice about not reporting a sexual assault. Sophomore Alex Cohen says, “ I personally like the #MeToo campaign, especially how it points out the scope of sexual assault. It can affect everyone; it’s not a crime that just happens to one race or one gender.” Cohen’s take is very intriguing; the campaign looks to unite people of all backgrounds thanks to the wide scope of social media, yet it has faced criticism. Many critics believe the #MeToo campaign is pressuring victims into speaking publicly about a deeply personal event, and even more argue that the campaign is more likely to be used by women who come from a place a privilege and will not face financial or social repercussions for outing their abusers.

The #MeToo campaign is only a small piece in the effort to completely end sexual assault. Yet, the hashtag has still has made a substantial impact; it has given everyone who has a access to the Internet the ability to expose his/her assaults. It is hopeful that this campaign will open the eyes of public officials, especially law enforcement officers, and inspire them to take a tougher stance on punishing rapists and abusers. Weinstein’s victims have faced horrible abuses, but it is thanks to their courage that many people have been able to expose other powerful abusers, and it is hopeful that this will inspire change in all industries. The #MeToo campaign will not stop until women feel safe to go to work, and they are given the opportunities to advance without having to face harassment.