You might not know her name but you definitely have felt the effects of her work.
Tarana Burke has been an activist for rape survivors for well over a decade, helping victims to heal from their traumas. But Burke didn’t start getting the attention she deserved until the phrase she coined, “Me Too,” went viral.
Now the movement is stronger than ever, having been translated in several languages around the world, officially becoming a global movement, both online and IRL.
But despite the wonderful things that Tarana Burke and #MeToo has done for survivors, it’s also created a backlash among men who claim that the movement is merely part of a vendetta against them.
Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Tarana Burke recently sat down with InStyle to talk about what so many people get wrong about the movement. She explained,
“I think what folks don’t realize is how most survivors don’t think punitively. Our mind isn’t totally focused on ‘I want to get the person who did this to me’ or ‘I want them to go to jail.'”
But rather, as she says, sexual assault activism is about helping survivors to find themselves again. She continued,
“This work is about us figuring out what it means to come back to yourself and who this new post-traumatic person is, how to feel whole again. When I can have experiences with survivors that are about how they access their joy, that’s some of the best work to have. Joy is possible.”
Naturally, this is not what men who feel threatened by the movement see. Actor Liam Neeson called the movement “a bit of a witch hunt” while Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke exclaimed,
“This new puritanism colored by a hatred of men, arriving on the heels of the #MeToo movement, worries me. As artists, we’re starting to be fearful since we’re faced with this crusade against any form of eroticism.”
Other criticisms include men who claim that women are lying in order to get money and fame. But as we all know, women who bravely come forward get neither of these things. Can you even name a single one of Bill Cosby‘s 60 victims?
Regardless of what any of these men have to say, Tarana is moving forward with her work and even set up an official Me Too Movement organization to help both survivors as well as allies who want to get involved. She explained,
“There is a healing side to the website, and then on the action side is this tool that allows you to put in your zip code and find out all the ways people are working to end sexual violence right in your neighborhood. You can volunteer, donate, pray, all the ways you want to be a part of that.”
If you or something you know is a survivor of sexual assault, or you want to help victims of sexual assault, head to Me Too Movement’s website here.