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#MeToo opens conversation about sexual assault across Lowcountry - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

#MeToo opens conversation about sexual assault across Lowcountry

(Source: Live 5) (Source: Live 5)
Actress Alyssa Milano tweets "Me Too" (Source: Twitter) Actress Alyssa Milano tweets "Me Too" (Source: Twitter)

It’s a trend that has swept the nation in a matter of 36 hours and has opened the door to a conversation about sexual assault and harassment.

Celebrities like Alyssa Milano, Debra Messing, and Lady Gaga have posted to social media two words, which many are calling powerful, “Me Too."

"It was overwhelming for me,” said Katelyn Brewer, President & CEO of Darkness 2 Light. “It was amazing."

Brewer said the “Me Too” trend which has exploded is bringing a new wave of awareness to sexual assault and harassment.

Brewer said she stayed up late Sunday night after the topic started trending, responding to victims who posted those words.

"I had to be a part of it,” she said. “I had to let them know that Darkness 2 Light, Katelyn Brewer, we were here for them. We believe them and we were proud of them that they had the courage to speak out."

Darkness 2 Light is a non-profit which helps victims of sexual abuse.

She said the idea of something like this taking place on social media shows the power it has and the changing times.

"This was a place for people to come together and understand that they're not alone,” Brewer said. “More importantly, when they did come out and say they had been victims of sexual assault or sexual abuse that people believed them."

"It's actually kind of sad to see, not sad that they're open about it, but it's sad to see how many of your friends haven't been open before,” said Morgan Flowers. “[How many of your friends] haven't told you about the situation they've been in, and then all of a sudden it's out in the light among thousands of people. It's like oh my God, the magnitude of this situation is huge!"

Brewer added sexual assault happens to both men and women and can happen on a daily basis. Several videos created by online users depict how women can walk a busy street and receive multiple sexual comments, which may be interpreted as sexual harassment.

"It's pretty intense,” said Donna Judge. “It's very positive to be bringing awareness about sexual assault and sexual harassment."

While not all victims will post “Me Too”, Brewer said her organization and others are available to talk.

In the meantime, she hopes more victims will come forward to get help and raise awareness.

"I would love to see this last a while,” Brewer said. “I would love to see this movement turn into policy and turn into culture change. This is where the work starts."

While Milano was the first celebrity to tweet out the two words, Brewer said many people have attributed this trend to a New York activist named Tarana Burke.

According to CNN, Burke is the program director for Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity, a group focused on creating opportunities for young women and girls.

Burke’s website Just Be shares details about how the “Me Too” movement was first created decades ago while shew as a youth camp director.

Burke writes about a young girl coming to speak to her privately about a situation at home, reading in part:

“For the next several minutes this child… struggled to tell me about her “stepdaddy” or rather her mother’s boyfriend who was doing all sorts of monstrous things to her developing body… I was horrified by her words, the emotions welling inside of me ran the gamut, and I listened until I literally could not take it anymore… which turned out to be less than 5 minutes. Then, right in the middle of her sharing her pain with me, I cut her off and immediately directed her to another female counselor who could “help her better.”

Burke said she never forgot the look on the child’s face.

“The shock of being rejected, the pain of opening a wound only to have it abruptly forced closed again - it was all on her face,” she wrote.

“I watched her walk away from me as she tried to recapture her secrets and tuck them back into their hiding place. I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper… me too.”

Since the topics started trending Milano has credited Burke with “Me Too." 

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