Examining #MeToo’s Cultural Impact
Since its hashtag went viral in 2017, the #MeToo movement has become a cultural phenomenon, instigating institutional change and redirecting the narrative around sexual abuse. Activist and advocate Tarana Burke first coined the phrase “me too” in 2006 in an effort help survivors of sexual assault. These days, the #MeToo Movement is seeking to end sexual violence and advocate for survivor-centric solutions on a global scale. “We’re doing hard work, but we’re doing heart work,” added Burke about the organization’s mission.
In order to raise awareness about sexual assault, Burke partnered with ad agency Deutsch to produce PSA videos empowering survivors to share their stories in an authentic, heartfelt way. “Disclosure should never be demanded,” Burke emphasized. “I believe in survivors’ rights to own their stories.” Deutsch’s Barrena added that the illustrated videos played with sound wave imagery to emphasize that survivors will “no longer be silenced.”
Burke hopes those who watch the videos will be empathetic to survivors’ stories: “If you haven’t been impacted, you don’t understand the lifecycle of a survivor,” she acknowledged. “What binds us is the trauma, but what also binds us is the resilience.”
Terry Crews, who shared his story in one of the videos, spoke about how coming forward about his assault was his purpose. “Everything I’ve ever done has come to this point,” the former NFL linebacker explained. “When you’re there in your purpose, there’s no fear, there’s no reticence … you just realize, ‘This is why my heart beats.’”
He implored other men to stand up for the people around them and to speak out against sexual violence. “We know what’s been going on. There’s no more pretending and acting like this doesn’t happen. No more deflecting or excusing.”
Crews credited the courage of Burke and the women on Twitter who shared their own stories for helping him find the strength to come forward. “This is a healing thing that pushes on and make things grow,” Crews explained. “ There’s nothing I’ve ever done, period, that will ever compare to what this is.”