Tag Archives: #MeToo

#MeTooNowWhat

Over the past several months, women and men have been coming forward with their own personal stories of sexual harassment. With the help of social media, #MeToo stories are spreading.

“I think we all are having a moment right now,” CSUN Title IX Coordinator Susan Hua said. “Whether a survivor is male or female, I think people are breaking the silence … You’re seeing sports figures, you’re seeing politicians, and men in powerful positions, being held accountable for sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. I think [#MeToo is] really giving not only a voice through social media and technology and how that’s impacting this movement, but also allowing people who might not have spoken up years ago … to feel like now there’s support for them.”

The #MeToo movement has encouraged many people to speak up about sexual harassment, and that lets even more victims know that they are not alone.

“I talked to several women who had kept information to themselves for 40 or 50 years, but now feel like coming out,” said Betsy Butler, Executive Director of the California Women’s Law Center. “More than that, they’re ready to make change happen, and it starts with policing. So many levels of action need to take place now, and mindsets [need to] change here in this country. It’s a different culture we need to look at.”

Bringing conversations about sexual violence into the mainstream helps remove the stigma for survivors, by showing how sexual harassment has affected the lives of many men and women.

“Part of the oppression of women is that we think we’re alone, and we think that our personal difficulties, or our harassment stories or whatever, are individual, and they never are.” CSUN Gender and Women’s Studies Professor Jennifer Berry said. “I think this is what the MeToo movement has done, is [demonstrate] that you are not alone. Not only are you not alone, we’re building an army.”

Despite the numbers of people coming out with their own personal stories, a lot of victims have not come forward, and Hua said some may not know how to bring grievances or talk about their experiences. She said students and faculty at CSUN are able to report any sexual harassment case through the Title IX Office.

“We have done extensive training, with both our students and employees, making sure that students know who they can go to as confidential resources here on campus,” Hua said. “That’s usually our counselors, our mental health advisors, and our victims advocate on campus…. Knowing the different resources [survivors] can access on campus [helps, and] I think we are seeing an increase of survivors who feel that they are ready to talk about their experiences, and as they are continuing to process their experiences, to get help, and to hold individuals accountable.”

But it still may be hard for some victims to come forward with their story, even if they have the resources and people available to them.

“Some women will never come forward,” Butler said. “You know, a lot of these situations [involve people whom] they know, and so they have to grapple with whether they want to bring it all out in the open. These aren’t generally strangers, particularly on campus, who have assaulted them or harassed them.”

Hua said that students’ cultural backgrounds and legal status can also be a factor.

“CSUN is such a diverse community,” she said, “and we have undocumented students who may not want to go above the radar, even though they have been victimized … Or we have cultural differences, in which someone, for example, from an Asian culture, might feel like [they] can’t talk about it, because that’s airing [their] dirty laundry or bringing shame to [their] family.”

Legal experts said movements like #MeToo are only the beginning, and that much more needs to happen in order to prevent sexual harassment.

“I think we can do better,” Berry said. “I think we can have higher expectations of men; I think we can believe women, and work with young people and care deeply about their lives. I think us older people [need] to remember how young and hopeful we all start out, and keep that hope alive.”

Moderator: Heatherann Wagner

Producer: Haley Spellman

Anchor: Lauren Turner Dunn

Social Media Editors: Cammeron Parrish and Jacob Gonzalez

Reporters: Jacob Gonzalez, Katherine Molina, Cammeron Parrish, Haley Spellman, Lauren Turner Dunn and Heatherann Wagner

Comments Off on #MeTooNowWhat