Founder Of ‘Me Too’ Movement Fears Narrative Being Hijacked From Helping Survivors Heal

By Jennifer Smola
The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Now that “Me Too” has become a global phenomenon, founder Tarana Burke says she hopes to shift the narrative to how best to help those survivors heal and connect with resources.

The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Tarana Burke was in her early 20s, fresh out of college and working at a youth leadership camp when she was confronted with a child’s story of sexual abuse.

She froze, unsure of what to say.

Burke quickly directed the child to a counselor, feeling unequipped to help herself. But Burke’s silence weighed on her as soon as the young girl walked away.

“I couldn’t bring myself to tell that child that it happened to me, too,” Burke, founder of the Me Too movement, said at Columbus State Community College’s Courageous Conversations series Monday evening.

Years later, Burke knew she had to incorporate the phrase into her work as a social justice advocate, and six months ago, those two words would spread around the globe overnight, sparking an empowerment movement of victims of sexual assault and harassment.

Burke is credited with first using the phrase in her work more than a decade ago with Just Be Inc., the organization she founded, focusing on the well-being of women and girls of color. But last fall, the #MeToo hashtag went viral after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted the phrase, encouraging those on social media to share those two words if they’d been victims of sexual assault or harassment. Her tweet has about 68,000 replies and nearly 25,000 retweets. CBS News reported there were more than 12 million Facebook posts, comments and reactions regarding the phrase in less than 24 hours after it started spreading.

Now that Me Too has become a global phenomenon, Burke said she hopes to shift the narrative to how best to help those survivors heal and connect them with resources. She laments that conversations surrounding Me Too have centered around which powerful person the movement will take down next, or how to date in the Me Too era, or whether or not we can hug one another.

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