Posted on January 11, 2018
Me Too. Now What?
2017 will go down in history as the year women broke their silence and dozens of powerful men who sexually abused them over decades were finally held accountable. More than a decade ago, Tarana Burke started the #MeToo movement to empower and unite women and girls who have been sexually assaulted, and in the past few months, it’s inspired millions of survivors to come forward.
In 2018, UltraViolet, a national women’s advocacy organization, wants to keep this momentum and unity among survivors of assault visible by focusing on what comes next.
That’s why we’ve launched a new online platform, “Me Too. Now What?,” in partnership with 12 allies including CREDO, to crowdsource solutions to address the epidemic of sexual assault and harassment in our country. Visitors to the site are encouraged to first submit their own solutions, and then upvote and downvote others.
Hundreds of ideas have been submitted, and tens of thousands of votes have been cast. We asked visitors to the site, “What do you think needs to happen to end a culture of rampant sexual harassment and assault?” and we got a range of answers.
The largest number of submissions fell under the category of education. Hundreds acknowledged that gender and power dynamics are learned from a very young age and advocated for teaching respect and consent when children first start school.
Others advocated for a range of procedural fixes – from ending the statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases to banning non-disclosure agreements in harassment settlements – to ensure that survivors of assault and harassment cannot be silenced.
But the submission with the most votes on the site reads, “We can start by removing Trump from office.”
While we look toward solutions to end harassment and assault before it starts, the fact that a sexual predator remains in the White House is a striking reminder that we still have a lot more work to do on the accountability front.
The driving purpose of the #MeToo movement is to expose the scope of harassment and assault, so when perpetrators are named, survivors will finally be heard, believed and supported. Only when we make the cultural shift to believe survivors, rather than question their motives and shame them when they come forward, will we see meaningful accountability on a large scale.
The person occupying the White House in particular plays a huge role in setting the tone and priorities for the country. As long as Trump remains in office with no effort to investigate the accusations against him, our country is getting the message that we can ignore a pattern of abuse and discount the 20 women who have spoken out. And it’s not just a symbolic problem – the Trump administration has been pushing an anti-woman, anti-survivor agenda since day one.
That’s why UltraViolet’s first priority in 2018 is pushing Congress to investigate Trump’s disgusting history of assault and harassment and hold him accountable. This month, with CREDO as a partner, we will be calling senators and organizing lobby visits to make sure they shine a spotlight on the abuser-in-chief.
And if you have other ideas about how to end the epidemic of harassment and assault, we hope you will add to the conversation at: metoo.weareultraviolet.org.
Nita Chaudhary and Shaunna Thomas are Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors of UltraViolet, a national advocacy organization that exists to create a cost for sexism and to achieve full equity for all women through culture and policy change. UltraViolet is a partner of CREDO, and CREDO members have voted to donate more than $129,000 to the organization since 2014. To learn more about who we fund and how we distribute our donations, visit CREDOdonations.com.