#MeToo Campaign Inspires Sexual Assault Survivors To Seek Help, Share Stories

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In less than a week, the hashtag #MeToo has been used millions of times on social media.

It began in 2007, but was reignited on Sunday after allegations recently surfaced against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. It’s aimed at highlighting the number of women who continue to be sexually harassed and victimized across the country. The social media movement has also prompted people in Minnesota to seek help and share their stories.

The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault tells me they have seen an uptick on both their website and their Facebook pages since #MeToo began trending.

They believe the movement may have prompted women to look for more resources and information in recent days.

Ramsey County Sexual Violence Services also said they have been experiencing callers who say they were triggered to seek help after seeing the hashtag.

Sexual assault and abuse has long been an issue on college campuses and advocates at the University of Minnesota believe the social media movement allows victim-survivors to take ownership of their story and seek healing.

“Several of our clients have said, ‘Yes, I am coming in because of the #MeToo.’ What’s interesting about the #MeToo campaign is that it gives victim-survivors a sense of solidarity and permission and also to instigate a healing process if they have never, ever faced their trauma in the past,” said Katie Eichele, the director of the University of Minnesota’s Aurora Center for Advocacy & Education.

“I do this work every day and even on my own Facebook wall, seeing people that I know, that I’ve worked with, that I care about, family, posting #MeToo and having never actually known that that has been their experience…that was a really touching and emotional experience for me as well,” said Eichele.

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, harassment or abuse, it is important to remember you are not alone.

Here are some numbers of local groups that are available 24/7 to help.

SOS Sexual Violence Services
651-266-1000

U of M Aurora Center
612-626-9111

Sexual Violence Center
612-871-5111

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