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The year of Me Too

| Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Whenever I’m walking through campus at night, I immediately take my earphones out. I’m more hesitant to take shortcuts that I normally wouldn’t think twice about during the daytime. Every time I hear the cracking of leaves I walk faster, and return to my normal pace only after knowing my surroundings are danger free. When I see a guy trailing me closely from behind I slow down to let him pass me. If it’s too late, I call my mother or a friend and talk to them until I’m back at my dorm. It may seem like a lot to think about, but every detail is a necessary for my safety. All of these thoughts aren’t solely exclusive to me; they’re common concerns among most women that men don’t have the displeasure of worrying about.

What’s the concern? It’s the fear of having someone else take your control from you. The fear of unwanted sexual advances. The fear of coming forward with stories. Me Too, a social media campaign, brought to light multiple stories of sexual assault and harassment from women all over the world. The women that participated in the movement are mothers, sisters, daughters and friends, yet by reading their stories, it felt as though society had failed them by not protecting them. It failed them by not listening to their stories. It failed them by not making their attackers accountable.

A common trend in 2017 has been accountability, which women have been wanting for decades. Aside from the inauguration of Donald Trump and a slew of other elected officials not reprimanded for their crimes against women, 2017 has been a pretty successful year for bringing the issues of sexual assault and harassment to the surface. From Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey, more and more offenders have all be held accountable for their actions — a great start to combatting the problem. This year, we as a society held assaulters accountable for their actions, and by doing so protected women at work, at school and in public spaces. This year also dispelled the myths that sexual assault is only a problem for women, as Hollywood actor Terry Crews recently revealed he was inappropriately groped by a director. Sexual assault has no longer become just the victim’s problem, but society’s problem as well.

If 2017 has given society anything noteworthy, it has given victims a chance to be heard, attackers the necessity to be held accountable and everyone a precedence to be set for how we treat victims. Congratulations, 2017 has been the year of Me Too.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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