OPINION: Don’t let social media trump voices

By Bri Pierce

#MeToo began to spread widely after the convictions of Harvey Weinstein. This hashtag on social media is used to help spread the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment to show girls they are not alone when it comes to being a victim of sexual assault and influences them to want to come out and share their experience.

I strongly agree with sharing your experiences with sexual assault and coming out with the information on who hurt you physically or mentally. However, I believe there is a better way to handle this extreme situation other than a hashtag. Coming out on social media about your sexual assault may spread the word and show men and women who have been harmed sexually that they are not alone but it also comes along with issues.

Social media often times desensitizes issues. It is used as a platform to spread humor and make jokes, especially on Twitter where the #MeToo is most prevalent. Posting something on social media is often not looked at as a serious matter, so coming out about being sexually assaulted for the first time on Twitter isn’t ideal.

If you want to prove to this generation that it is okay to expose your sex offender then tell the authorities, take the steps to put your offender where he or she belongHumiliatinging them on Twitter isn’t justice. Don’t be afraid to use your words verbally and speak out loud about being sexually assaulted. Hiding behind a social media platform shows as much weakness as a cyberbully. Posting a tweet on Twitter isn’t going to solve anything except stir up controversial conversations.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and when you post certain statements on social media, words can get twisted and followers can comprehend the information differently, leading to conflicts in ideas, which oftentimes tweets are: ideas. Being sexually assaulted is not an idea or controversial. It’s an issue and a fact. This generation is misguided by their freedom of technology and is so caught up in the fact that life is now run by a phone screen. This generation is forgetting the power behind speaking out loud.

Social media movements can often times glorify things as well, making individuals want to be bold and stand up against certain issues. Some people are taking advantage of this #MeToo movement and posting about “sexual assault” that may have not happened or is not actual sexaul assault. There is a wide difference between persistent flirting and rape or assault. Matt Damon spoke out against this hashtag and within days there were tweets about him being an offender that seemed shaky and like they were just pure frustration for him speaking his beliefs. Many posts are using names of “predators” claiming they looked at their private parts or something along those lines that aren’t considered assault. Men may be blindsided at how to successfully cat call a girl but they don’t deserve to have their reputation ruined over it.

As human beings there is a factor of life that includes being promiscuous and we are damaging that culture by making men afraid to be left alone in a room with a women due to the idea that any movement they make could be posted out claiming sexual assault. We need to teach men and women that if you are actually assaulted you should take the steps to rid of the offender and heal rather than pressing a button on twitter. It is easy to tweet about being assaulted but it’s not easy to actually take the steps of pressing charges and that is what we should be pressing and expressing: the actions in life that are hard but need to be done.

As actions such as observing private parts may be upsetting to some people, it can also drown out the voices of those who were actually molested. Those actually physically and mentally harmed can feel their issue isn’t important enough to be looked into deeper because people who weren’t actually assaulted to that degree are attempting to fit their smaller issues into those with bigger issues.

Some women preach equality but their actions contradict their words when they tweet things such as Ally Sheedy’s  “why is a man hosting the Golden Globes?” post. If a man tweeted these things about a women, he would be ripped apart, so why is it okay that women can say they want equality but then tweet otherwise? The #MeToo movement feels like an attack at men, and throwing any clumsy flirt under the bus isn’t the way women should rise to equality. Women are so much more powerful than a hashtag and as a women myself I believe that hiding behind social media isn’t going to help anyone. Tweeting or instagramming will draw attention to an important situation such as sexual assault for a day and then the story is gone along with the rest of the timeline. If you are a victim of sexual assault show others they aren’t alone by making a humanistic vocal movement! Don’t let social media trump voices.

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