When hashtag became a way to fight sexual harassment
#MeToo #Timesup #balancetonporc, all these hashtags are no longer unknown to us and can no longer leave anyone indifferent today. A look back at a social phenomenon.
100% of female public transportation users reported that they have been sexually harassed or assaulted. 19% have already been subjected to it several times and 14% have already received inappropriate comments on their outfits or silhouettes. During their careers, 32% of women have had to face such situations. Finally, one in four girls is a victim of sexual assault.
These numbers are chilling and more than alarming: women no longer feel safe, whether in transports, in the streets or in their own workplace. However, this subject remained relatively taboo until the emergence of the first hashtag denouncing sexual assault, #MeToo. This movement was created 11 years ago by activist Tarana Burke but was highlighted on 15 October 2017 by actress Alissa Milano to denounce sexual abuse suffered by women all around the world, after the revelations that were made about Harvey Weinstein. This hashtag, now worldwide famous, has been shared more than 12 million times in 24 hours on Facebook and marks a global awakening.
After this event, people felt secure about talking and we are now witnessing the emergence of other hashtags denouncing those violences. In January 2018, we saw the foundation of the hashtag #Timesup in the United States, which goes far beyond mere denunciations of sexual harassment. A whole movement has been built around it and it has raised more than $200 million to build a legal defence fund and 200 volunteer lawyers.
In France, in November 2017 #balancetonporc emerged and denounced the sexual aggression and harassment suffered by women in the workplace.
These phenomena have taken on considerable proportions and have made it possible to highlight an appalling reality. This has become viral and has started to spread so wide thanks to social networks, that no one can no longer ignore it. It is so much easier to ward off aggression behind a screen, without being ashamed of it, and by publishing a message that everyone can see, all over the world, that will also be repeated and that will allow others to break the silence.
Behind a screen, you feel less alone and afraid, also there are no specific recipients to your message, whereas in real life you don’t necessarily know who to contact to talk about something like this. This phenomenon has created a powerful movement, a community where women support each other and no longer feel alone against their aggressors. These hashtags also allows to highlight the aggressors and it no longer lets them go unpunished and all powerful.
Finally, these movements have grown to such an extent that the media have taken hold of them, which makes it impossible for the authorities to not be aware of it and forces them to take measures to listen and protect the victims, and of course to punish the aggressors.
These hashtags allow us to see that, thanks to social networks, it is easier to fight aggressors, to gather in order to have more power and above all, to denounce what must no longer remain hidden. It is finally not up to the victims to hide but to the aggressors to be afraid. Social networks has become a weapon against harassment.