INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A sexual assault community advocate in Indianapolis is applauding the #MeToo movement for pushing issues surrounding sexual harassment and sexual assault to the mainstream forefront.
The movement started Sunday as a response to the scandal and ensuing fallout involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. It took off after Actress Alyssa Milano tweeted a note that read “Suggested by a friend: 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.”
Aly Austin, who is a sexual assault community advocate for Families First says the movement’s ability to give a “name and face” to the victims of harassment and assault will help to open eyes across the country.
“Really putting a face and a name to the issue makes it so much more in your face. Maybe this is a way for some people to also find healing in this as well by sharing their story and maybe empowering some people to share theirs,” she said.
Since its start, the movement has exploded across social media, garnering more than a half million tweets and thousands of Facebook posts. Austin says it’s now important to build upon the movement and focus on the “next steps” of solving the problem.
“Sexual assault, abuse, and harassment are public safety problems so there needs to be a community effort to not only address it but ask how can we prevent it, what can we do in our community,” she said.
Austin says part of that community involvement will involve putting the engaging men on becoming better allies and supporters to victims, while also re-examining their own behavior. She added that getting men involved is perhaps the biggest key to reducing harassment and assaults.
“We really need to get that conversation and those efforts shifted, and we really need to get men involved in this.”