Radar investigates the hashtag sweeping social media platforms '#MeToo' that has allowed men and women to speak about their experiences with sexual assault. Radar spoke to four anonymous RGU students about the movement.
Men and women from across the world who have been sexually harrassed have been sharing their stories using the hashtag '#MeToo'.
The hashtag follows in the wake of allegations made against Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, by several high profile celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan.
The '#MeToo' movement has shown many celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Cara Delevigne and Gabrielle Union tweeting out their support for those voicing their stories and experiences.
The term gained momentum after actress Alyssa Milano asked victims of sexual assault to respond to her tweet.
Radar spoke with four anonymous RGU students about the rising hashtag.
Q: Many high profile women have recently decided to speak out about sexism and sexual abuse in the cinematographic environment. Discussing such outrageous situations can be scary, especially for young women just getting started in the sector. What do you think about this?
Student A: "It is horrible that there are people taking advantage of young men and women who have ambitions and hopes. They are obviously not going to say anything because they don’t want to compromise their careers. But, in the past people that have said something have been swept under the rug... Things always tend to come out when the problem becomes more evident."
Student B: "I think modern day society has to address these issues. That way victims will feel comfortable and safe about sharing and denouncing sexual assaults. These crimes should be punished, therefore making it clear that such behaviors are wrong, illegal and will not be tolerated."
Student C: "It is a very difficult position to be in. It’s such a difficult industry to be successful in, sometimes not saying anything is seen as the only relevant option."
Student D: "I think it is completely natural to be afraid of stuff like that. But it is so important to come forward and talk about it, because people who have been through situations like that they need to know that it’s okay to do something about it. If people keep on being silent about it, not many people are going to know there is a problem there."
Q: Do you believe the same difficulties can be faced by women and men in their everyday life? Maybe in politics or in University?
Student A: "People don’t see the magnitude of how many people are actually sexually assaulted. Most women are sexually assaulted at some point in their life."
Student B: "Women still to this day have to face sexism, misogyny and sexual assaults, not only on the streets, but in their work place or university."
Student C: "I definitely think it exists, especially in the work place. It is all about your priorities: money or denouncing morally wrong things?"
Student D: "I think mostly there are similarities between the problems both sexes face. Both men and women are expected to act a certain way and look a certain way, but I think the reason most women go through something like that is because men feel the need to dominate. I think there definitely more women facing the problem, but I don’t know if it’s because men are not talking about it because they feel ashamed or something."
Q: Many people have taken to social media in the past few days to share their experiences and concerns under the hashtag #MeToo. Do you think talking about sexual assaults, sexism, misogyny can help the cause?
Student A: "It makes people aware of their situation, of the fact they have been sexually assaulted. Many people think “I have not been raped, so nothing bad happened to me, I’m so lucky”, but that might not be the case."
Student B: "In my opinion, sharing is the ultimate way to bring awareness to the topic and make it comfortable for victims to confess what they have been trough."
Student C: "Definitely, it is so good how many people were speaking out against it. It is very brave and speaking about it can bring awareness. Talking about it can also have therapeutic effects on the person who had to face this kind of situation and it can also help people recognize it wasn’t their fault if anything happened to them."
Student D: "Yes talking about it teaches people of older and younger generations about it. It teached people that it’s not okay to do that to someone and if we talk about all genders will know about it. The more people aware, the better."
Q: What measures do you think we should take to improve the situation?
Student A: "Education. Instead of teaching young girls to cover up or not wear short skirts, teach the boys to respect a woman no matter what. And obviously sexual assault is sexual assault, regardless of gender, but right now the focus should be put on women, because it’s more of a problem for them."
Student B: "Measures that would help to improve the situation would be campaigns against sexual assault, support groups for victims, sex education for both boys and girls from early age, so they know what is right and what is considered wrong when it comes to bodies and boundaries."
Student C: "It all comes to education. Schools need to talk about way more than they actually do. PSE classes are always about drugs and alcohol, but we need to talk more about these issues that undermine our society."
Student D: "I think education is key. If you teach people when they’re young, we are taught about sex and how it works, but we don’t get taught much about the effects of rape. We don’t talk about what happens to the people after they have been raped or sexually assaulted. If you teach people about the exact nature of it, how can anyone be willing to do it? We also need to teach people the importance of talking about it though, nothing will get done about it if you keep it to yourself."