Understanding #MeToo

Understanding #MeToo

By Tanya Burgess

The #MeToo social media movement created by Tarana Burke has been vindicated by victims and advocates throughout American who were victims of inappropriate and illegal mistreatment of the mind, body and soul. Since the presidential election, there has been an increased advocacy and awareness of assault, particularly by men against women in the workplace. The entertainment industry has long been seen as a cesspool of indecency where people have way too much money and power and little knowledge of how to wield them responsibly.

The allegations which have recently come to light against sports giants, actors, producers and business men in the entertainment industry is what started the movement. Those with the strength, support and opportunity to come forward with their story found a hard brick wall in their way, as they were faced with shamming and disbelief. This stigma that being victimized is a shameful experience for the survivor and that speaking on those experiences is taboo are the building blocks for rape culture in America.

So, what makes this movement necessary and is it working?


The first question many women are asked when they finally are able to speak out about their experience with sexual assault is, how did it happen? Answers to these questions are often assumed before the individual speaks. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you trusted someone you shouldn’t have, you made a mistake, you weren’t being careful, or you were doing something you shouldn’t have been doing.

This bias is inherent, most people believe that your personal safety is your responsibility because frankly there are bad people out in the world and you should simply know that. Unfortunately, that biased thinking it’s wrong; if you learn nothing from the life you’ve lived so far, it’s that there are bad people out in the world and you need to keep yourself safe. That being said, as we all understand this notion of safety, why then is it shameful when someone is attacked?

If we all understand that it is completely possible to be harmed even when you are being safe, why then is it never the person who decided to be a ‘bad guy in the world’s fault? The answer is simple, as far as women believe they have ‘come up’ in the world, we are still second-class citizens seen as the lesser or weaker sex. We are simply not as important as men.

Women have indeed come along way and we are on the road to greatness but men are still in the front of the line.

Male Privilege is Very Real

Male Privilege is Very Real

by T.L. Burgess

The Existential Crisis

America is experiencing a ‘what is happening’ feeling right now. People are realizing that men of power have been getting away with inexcusable harassment to the ‘lesser sex’ – welcome to male privilege. Since the uproar from our recent presidential election, Americans have been shocked to find that there is a serious cultural issue in this country. The country is run by rich males who are allowed to do whatever they want without any serious consequences.

Celebrities are individuals who are seen as role models. Often their actions in their personal lives are connected with their professional work if it appears they have a typical American life. Things like watching children grow up, buying a new house and getting married or divorced are all hot topics but a person is a person. Celebrities are not inherently ‘good people’ simply because the life you see in the magazines suggest it. Yet, there is always this upheaval when you realize that someone with so much power, and money and influence could do something so horrible for so long.

What Can be Done?

Yes, one issue is that people don’t report. Victim shaming is very much a contributor to this. Another issue is that traumatic experiences such as sexual assault often happens more than once. A perpetrator is likely to become a repeat offender if their victim does not report. What about the issue of privilege? Is there a reason why celebrities and Presidents get a free pass? Of course there is, because with great power comes great privilege and the safety of women under such power are inconsequential. How can we empower women, how can we empower men to use and not abuse their power, and when will consequences be equal across the board, regardless of power and money and privilege?

Visit RAIIN.org to learn more about sexual assault, find resources and ask questions.

https://www.rainn.org/after-sexual-assault

Get involved with the New American Leaders project to find opportunities to facilitate change and support diverse emerging leaders.

https://www.newamericanleaders.org/

Learn more about American Culture and Intercultural Competence and collaborate with me to bring cultural trainings to organizations.

https://burgesstl.wixsite.com/tlburgess