By Joe Sylvester
The Daily Item, Sunbury, Pa.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Tarana Burke who founded the “Me Too” movement 10 years ago recently told an audience at Bucknell that she started the movement after a young girl told her at a camp in 1997 that she was sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend.
When actress Alyssa Milano started using “Me Too” on social media in October, there was an avalanche of responses.
She was giving a voice to victims of sexual violence after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment and assault. Milano asked anyone who had been sexually harassed or assaulted to write “me too” as a reply to her tweet.
She also acknowledged that “Me Too” was not new.
Social justice activist and sexual assault survivor Tarana Burke, founded the movement 10 years earlier as a way to help victims of sexual violence. The explosion of comments Milano’s tweet generated took Burke by surprise.
She was in bed when friends began to notify her of the tweet, asking if it came from her.
“I was panicked,” she said during her talk Sunday evening at Bucknell University’s Weis Center for the Performing Arts. “There were hundreds of people who were using this hashtag. I thought the history of my work would be erased.”
Then, drawing a laugh from the audience in the packed auditorium, Burke, who is black, said she thought, “The white people have stolen my work.”
But after she read one woman’s online story of sexual violence, Burke realized that her work was all over the internet. In response, she posted a video from 2014 in which she talks about MeToo.
“I felt a duty to insert myself in this conversation right away,” Burke said.
She told the audience of mostly college students that she started the movement after a young girl told her at a camp in 1997 that she was sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend.