BOSTON (CBS) – This morning, a correction.
In Tuesday morning’s commentary on the troubling explosion of Twitter posts by victims of sexual harassment using the hashtag #MeToo, I attributed the outpouring to an initiative by actress Alyssa Milano. That was before I learned that African-American political activist Tarana Burke was first to use #MeToo as a forum for victims of sexual assault back in 2006, before Twitter existed.
My apologies to Ms. Burke, who says in an interview with the Washington Post that this could be the start of something more enduring.
“People need hope and inspiration desperately. But hope and inspiration are only sustained by work,” she says. “There’s a cycle that people go through that requires support, even in just saying ‘Me, too.’”
While she hopes that people who didn’t realize the extent of and damage done by sexual harassment will now treat the issue more seriously, Burke urges people inspired by what happened to translate that into action, working at a sexual violence hotline or backing charities that help survivors.
“This is necessary,” she says. “People are crying for it.”
And that itself is a disturbing observation.
Here we are, in the middle of an information and communication revolution, where everyone has a forum to speak out, in an era where personal narratives are encouraged as never before, at a time when there’s never been more attention paid to abuse – and people are still desperate for encouragement that it’s OK to speak out about the way they’re violated?
Maybe all the “progress” we’ve made hasn’t been quite as much progress as we thought.