Sometimes a social movement picks up enough steam to make a difference, and that’s what is happening right now with the “Me too” campaign on social media. It started in the wake of the scandal surrounding movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, when “Charmed” actress Alyssa Milano tweeted on Sunday afternoon: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” The tweet said: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” In just 24 hours, 4.7 million Facebook users were posting “Me too” or at least talking about it. The #metoo hashtag was trending on Twitter with over half a million me too’s. Big name female stars were speaking up about the sexual violence they have survived.
Some wrote nothing more than “Me too.” Others wrote whole accounts of their experiences. A wealthy Florida woman wrote about being groped at Mar-a-Lago.
I don’t need to add my “me too.” I already wrote about it in my first book, “Truth Heals,” in which I recalled the ongoing sexual violence I experienced from the age of two until I was twelve. And that was just my childhood. As one of the very few women in my law school class, I was a prime target for being hit on, even by professors. I thought it was normal. Boys will be boys. You know, “locker room talk.”
Now, as a spiritual teacher, I am privy to thousand upon thousands of private stories, and an overwhelming number of them include sexual assault in one form or another. Alyssa was right—people don’t realize the “magnitude of the problem.”
What I’ve been glad to see is that men are starting to respond to the “Me too” campaign, whether with stories of the sexual violence they have experienced, or to simply take responsibility for their own actions and to apologize for them. And that is what it will take—men accepting their responsibility on a much larger scale—to change the culture of rape and male domination. As person after person has posted, there is a growing realization that it is power, not sexuality, that is at the root of the problem. Power over. Dominion over. Control over.
It is the same problem that is confronting us on a worldwide scale as we live through the fires, floods, and hurricanes that have all been made fiercer and more destructive due to mankind’s impact on global warming. Mankind has believed it has dominion over all other living things, including the planet. We have raped and plundered and assaulted the earth. We have lived for the greed of the moment rather than caring for, protecting, and respecting our benevolent Mother Earth. Is it because we consider Earth to be female, and so fair game?
Maybe, just maybe, the time has come to bring this to the forefront of our attention. Maybe, just maybe, an overwhelming chorus of “Me too’s” will make a dent in the fantasy of “Boys will be boys.” And may that turn into a chorus of “Yes, we can change this now.”