It’s impossible to miss this #MeToo moment and all the coverage of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against noted entertainment, media and now Congressional figures. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the courage of the women who are coming out of the shadows to shed light on a practice that almost every woman knows is common place in every industry and profession. And yet, even though I recognize that these revelations may propel our country to take these acts seriously I have a growing sense of unease and even anger with each new accusation. Why?
Because with the exception of Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinam on MSNBC no one has mentioned the missing voices of girls, young women and women, who are of color, work in minimum wage jobs, and/or can’t afford to publically say #MeToo for fear of losing their livelihood, safety and much more. They remind us that this is about power not sex. They remind us that “this” happens everywhere, not to just to the rich and famous.
The truth is there is not a profession or industry in which this does not occur.
The truth is that sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and harassment of girls and young women occurs in our families, work places, schools and communities, and is an epidemic in our country.
The truth is that being outraged changes nothing. We need to attack the root causes, learn the facts and take action.
On this #GivingTuesday, we want to use the collective power of our voices to call attention to the experiences of girls, young women, and women who are often left out of the conversation. Their abusers are not highly influential entertainment and media icons or politicians and their names and pictures will never make the headlines. By coming together in solidarity and using #UsToo we can ensure that the millions of girls, young women and women who experience sexual abuse and more are not forgotten. They say their ‘Me Toos’ into the darkness because speaking out could put their safety, their livelihood, their children and more at risk.
I’m talking about girls, young women and women who are courageous survivors of sexual abuse, assault, domestic violence, and harassment. They face chronic adversity, oppression, and are impacted by child welfare and juvenile and criminal justice systems. They experience homelessness, are trafficked for sex, are young single mothers and are women and children living in low-income situations. But more importantly they are powerful, they are determined, they are part of the solution. They are our daughters, mothers, aunties, sisters, colleagues, friends and grandmothers – they are US!
Let’s not be invisible in this #MeToo moment! The facts are clear and you can find a few in our #UsToo toolkit. Share a post from our #UsToo campaign and give the most marginalized girls & young women a space in the dialogue. You can find images & sample posts by downloading the #UsToo ToolKit here.
Post a fact or statement and #UsToo to stand with girls, young women and women survivors so their experiences aren’t just ‘MeToos’ whispered in the shadow of the current media spotlight.
Jeannette Pai-Espinosa, President
The National Crittenton Foundation