(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Shining a Light on Abuse: #Metoo
By Savannah Lawrence
“Fear not, for I am with you…”
– Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
Have you seen the hashtag? Have you used it? I have. Do you know what it stands for? The past couple of months have been a battle ground in the world of Hollywood. From allegations to scandals, women and men have vocalized the abuse that has been swept under the rug in Hollywood. This social movement started when actresses began to vocalize about the non-consensual acts that Harvey Weinstein, a well-known Hollywood producer, committed. Actresses like Ashley Judd and Cara Delevigne are two of the many actresses that have spoken against Weinstein. The limelight. on Weinstein has opened a deep wound that will not heal quickly. For many, the elite title that Weinstein, and others, hold is what makes the reality of sexual assault in Hollywood unavoidable. These public figures abused women and men due to their social standing.
These voices paved the way for more women and men to confront their past. The famous hashtag came about due to these allegations. Activist Tarana Burke started the #MeToo legacy 10 years ago when she advocated for sexual abuse against women. It wasn’t until this past October that the hashtag became popular. The purpose of #MeToo is for women and men to share the magnitude of abuse with others. As more brave women and men come forward, where do the others go when they are unable to share?
I for one have been in both positions. I have been sexually assaulted a couple times, and it wasn’t until my freshman year at Azusa Pacific University that I was able to put a name on it. During my spring semester at APU, I wrote a research paper about sexual assault on college campuses––ironic. Before I started the research, I was sexually assaulted by a “friend.” I didn’t label the encounter as sexual assault because it felt blunt and wrong. As I conducted research for my paper, I discovered that my own stories matched others. I was sexually assaulted.
I knew others at APU that had experienced what I experienced, so they were the first one’s I turned to. I recall feeling shameful, guilty, and disgusted with myself as I spoke about my past to them. I was continuously told that it was not my fault. But, I kept thinking, how do I cope with this as a Christian? How do I turn to God? A wise woman told me that there is nothing that God cannot handle. I took those words and ran with it. I gave everything that had happened to me in the past to God. Who else can take it? No one. It was amazing how quickly I was able to do a 360 turnaround. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for others. There are others who are unable to speak about their past. How do we help those who are fear stricken?
The #MeToo campaign is one of the many ways that women and men can come out about the abuse that has happened in their lives. When the hashtag started to trend, it was disheartening seeing how many are affected by the sinful world we live in. I was even scared to post the hashtag on my social media. When I posted, a wave of support flooded through my notification button. People do care, and people want to help.
Where do we go from here? #MeToo is a part of my story, but does not define me. I am rooted in Christ and he is love. As sisters and brothers in Christ, we need to rely on the Lord during these troubling times. Sexual assault affects both women and men in some way. As Christians we need to mirror Christ in love and compassion so we can comfort those who are broken and work together to fight against evil. Maybe, one day, #MeToo will turn into a battle cry to combat the brokenness in this world. For now, #MeToo brings awareness of sexual assault to women and men everywhere.