#MeToo, women empowerment Endsexualviolenceagainstwomen
Around The World

MeToo: A Movement Truly Helped Women to Overcome Victim Shaming

 

In October 2018, New York time published how the #MeToo movement brought down 201 powerful men in the United States. The majority of these men had harassed and assaulted women for many years and probably never imagined they would ever have to face any consequences. We have seen in the last couple of years how so many men in power and fame were accused, proven guilty, removed or resigned from their position or even sentenced as a consequence of the #MeToo movement. #MeToo, the world’s first mass movement is shifting the culture to change the narratives of sexual assaults by destigmatizing and empowering survivors.

 

“I think only when we can shift the shame from the victims to perpetrators, the change will start there.”- Dr. Denis Mukwege

 

Victim blaming and shaming has not completely stopped, it is a huge cultural issue all over the world and will not be eradicated overnight. But, a movement like MeToo certainly is a milestone in women empowerment. It showed women how to overcome victim shaming!

 

Women have been subjected to sexual abuse and violence in all societies, in every country and culture in the world for ages. Unfortunately, in the patriarchal system, victims, not the perpetrators, of sexual assaults are stigmatized. Many societies don’t accept rape or sexual assault victims. Families or communities consider women as characterless and unacceptable to society.

This strategy really worked in favor of men for generations, to exploit women. Victim blaming, and the stigma and shame associated with it forced women to keep quiet. Either nobody would trust, or even if they do, the victim would be marginalized by blaming, shaming, or even punishing!

 

 

 

Also Read: In Search of a Safer Place for Women

 

In some cultures, the trauma, humiliation, and stigma women endure as a result of disclosing their sexual abuses are just horrific. Therefore women usually choose not to talk about it, to shut down, block the memory, or to live with the trauma for the rest of their lives. This has remained the biggest weapon for men against women for centuries.

 

Women remain silent not because they are weaker, but because they are scared about the ramifications. Men use this silence to exploit women. This is one major cause why these celebrity actors, directors, politicians, sportsperson, doctors, and scientists were so confident for years that they would never be caught, as no women would like to talk about their own sexual abuses. It was a simple strategy used by men across countries and cultures – rape or assault women and then shame and blame them when they are trying to protest or fight. Shame them to the extent that, no one ever in the future would dare do disclose again.

 

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We must shift the narrative around sexual violence to make the change we need.

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Because of the power imbalance between men and women in patriarchal societies, victims are blamed and dehumanized in gender-based violence. #MeToo movements provided immense power to survivors to dismantle these narratives. The age-old tactics of shaming women for being assaulted is not working anymore with the success of #MeToo and similar movements. Women all over the world are ignited to speak out about their abuses which they endured, sometimes maybe years ago, but decided to block the experience as a survival strategy.

 

#MeToo shook the entire world and was able to alter such a popular notion that a sexual assault victim should be ashamed, but not the predators! Now men (at least some of them ) are scared and would think twice before harassing women. They know their misconduct could be exposed at any time. Men would probably be more cautious in how they treat women, as women are less likely to remain silent. while sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct remain systemic problems, the #MeToo movement has given a voice to survivors, validated and destigmatized their experience.

 

Also Read- Guideline and Resources about Healing for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

Swagata Sen

A Clinical Researcher by profession, I am originally from India; now live in California with my family. I am an advocate of gender equality and women empowerment. I am also a Certified Reiki Healer and a Certified Sexual Assault Counselor and Advocate. I write about women's rights, equality and gender based issues to create awareness and to include every body in my fight against gender discrimination.

21 Comments

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    sjd68

    it was amazing to me when these allegations began to come out about how many men abused their power. I am raising daughters and often tell them to speak up and do not let your power be taken away from you. This is a great article and important in today’s day and age. I’m glad I get to see some of this change in my lifetime.

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    Despite Pain

    You are so right, the #MeToo movement did shake the world. Rightly so. Women who’d been abused had been afraid to speak out for so long. They had been living with shame and trauma while their abusers carried on with their lives. I am so glad that some of those powerful abusers were brought to justice.

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    Nominal Nomad

    The evidence of #MeToo doesn’t show that women need to triumph over men. Rather, it shows that a world in which sexual abuse and workplace harassment are not tolerated, and in which a respectful approach to consensual, mutually pleasurable sex is the norm, is a better world for men and women both.

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    Trish

    The MeToo movement has given many people who felt so isolated by their experiences a solidarity with others, and posts like this one help to build on the empowerment. Thank you.

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    mayurisjikoni

    A great post on women empowerment Swagata. The Me Too movement has also started in India and other parts of the world so hoping that more women come forward to speak up.

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    travelwisesr

    This movement should inspire women all around the world to shed their fears & apprehensions and tell the world at the first instance.Unless these crooked men are punished women would encounter many more.This menace needs to tackled with priority.

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    Luna S

    Well written post. It is heartbreaking hearing not only the stories of the incidents themselves but of how people treat the person afterwards and how many people do get shunned or treated like crap.

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    karilife

    I think in cases like #metoo, the people who really ruin the true spirit of the movement are those who use it as revenge. In a lot of cases I’ve seen, victim shaming came about because of the questions of whether or not the person was being truthful or just trying to bring someone down. The few (those seeking revenge for something else) are ruining it for the many out there who are true victims of sexual abuse. If I’m being honest, there are times where I find it hard to believe. It also makes me scared for my husband (who is a minister and prominent member of our community) and my future sons. We have to be so careful so as not have him in situations where anyone could make accusations. It’s such a sad world we live in that anyone would have to endure abuse or that anyone would be lied about in that way.

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    tcleland88

    It’s so important for women to know that they aren’t alone, that there are others who have experienced the same types of assaults, and that they should be encouraged to share without being blamed or shamed. The #metoo movement has been very empowering for women, even if only to show how very many people have experienced these types of behaviors.

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    honeybunnytwee

    I hope that one day society can move beyond victim blaming and place the blame solely on where it belongs on the perpetrators! #metoo has certainly empowered women who have stayed silent to start feeling like their voices are being heard for a change

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    ashleeunscripted

    The #MeToo movement was one of those bittersweet things for me. While I was so happy that more women were coming out and speaking their truths, no longer terrified of not being heard or their experiences not being validated, it also made me so very, very sad that this was the case. That there were so many who had experienced assault etc on any level. Assaulters need to learn that their behaviour is not accepted and must stop all together.

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    Nina

    I think the #Metoo movement has empowered a lot of women and of tremendous help in many forms. It’s a shame whenever society resorts to victim shaming!

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    aword84

    It is so important to raise awareness about the many ways in which women still don’t have the same rights as men, all over the world. And when it comes to the use of violence, the state of the art still shocks me – as a woman and as a mother of a girl. We need to keep talking about it, and acting towards a real empowerment. Violence, of any form, shouldn’t be justified so easily I believe. Great work Swagata !

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    Erica (The Prepping Wife)

    I am proud of this movement because I learned a lot about people I knew. It gave them a platform to share their stories more freely and speak out. My biggest issue though is the idea that women should automatically be believed when they claim sexual assault. I feel a big part of victim shaming is the small amount of women who lie about these kinds of things. They can ruin careers, college educations, and so much more. All because they expect to automatically be believed when they yell rape. That’s a problem for me. Because it allows women the ability to blackmail men and hold the threat of yelling rape over their head. I would love to see the day when men do not assault women, as well as the day when all women will be honest about it too.

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    Debra Roberts

    I hope that women can be empowered to speak up and not suppress themselves any longer. It’s sad that men have such power and instill so much fear. As a nurse, I have been trained to spot victims of human trafficking and assault and in the world of obstetrics, if that is going to be revealed, it’s then…when women are most vulnerable.

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