Yesterday, social media was overtaken by a flurry of status updates containing the hasthag #MeToo. This campaign is an offshoot of an initiative launched over ten years ago by Tarana Burke, founder of Just Be Inc., a youth organization focused on the health and well being of young women of color everywhere. She created this space for survivors of sexual abuse, and the movement garnered national attention yesterday when certain celebrities began sharing posts featuring #MeToo in response to allegations against Harvey Weinstein - another name in a long list of powerful men who have been outed by accusations from countless women.
Women all over the internet became united by way of the #MeToo hashtag. As newsfeeds became flooded, a national conversation was sparked about just how prevalent sexual harassment and abuse is, and how often women choose not to report it out of the fear of what recourse lies in store for them. One by one, folks who identify as women as well as some men recounted their experience being sexually victimized by men who never received punishment for their crime.
Amidst the flurry of tweets and status updates, a trend within this trend began to percolate. As brave women shared the horrific details behind the reason why they felt compelled to join the conversation, circumstances began to sound eerily familiar...
The backseat of an Uber vehicle seemed to be the backdrop of a number of the reported #MeToo scenarios, and nobody seemed shocked by this news. Some spoke of the Uber-related #MeToo posts in a tone that conveyed a lack of shock at the fact that Uber incidents are still occurring and are of particular concern to women.
And in true shameful form, the ‘Not All Men’ propagators showed up and showed off their thinly-veiled victim blaming, speaking to Uber’s well-documented misogynistic and abusive corporate culture:
The question remains: why do we continue to put ourselves at risk by getting into an Uber? Ride Responsibly, an organization powered by the National Limousine Association, continues to track the seemingly incessant cases of sexual assault and abuse of ride-hail app passengers. In spite of Uber’s publicized efforts to perform more stringent criminal background checks on their drivers, the numbers don’t seem to be dwindling. “As a retired police officer, father and active member of the ground transportation industry I am mortified at how often sexual assaults take place within ride-hailing vehicles,” notes Gary Buffo, President of both the NLA and Ride Responsibly. “I have advocated for more stringent fingerprint-based background checks that would find crimes across state lines. While those who commit these crimes should undoubtedly be served justice, it’s time for the public to realize that Uber & Lyft are accomplices to this behavior as they continue to turn a blind eye.”