2017 was a pretty interesting year. One of the major campaigns that shook (and is still shaking) the world, is the #metoo movement which has women coming out to share their sexual abuse stories. This is laudable in a world of victim-shaming, to make sure the perpetrators especially those in powerful and influential positions (such as in the Harvey Weinstein case) are no longer enabled by their victims’ silence and can’t go scot free because of their positions.
What started has a Hollywood thing has gone beyond just influencing the 2018 Golden Globe Awards theme, and has spread across countries, even to Nigeria with brave survivors sharing their me-too stories on CNN African Voices. Read about the experiences of 5 Nigerian women here.
What I think about #metoo
I think the real concept of this campaign stands against all forms of sexual abuse. It serves to give courage to victims of sexual violence to break the culture of silence and speak up for justice. This creates more awareness and perhaps helps the healing process and encourages others who still need extra motivation and boldness to come out and own their own stories.
Beyond the sexual abuse campaign, I like to apply the term “me-too” generally to mean: ” I’m with you”, “I can relate to your experience”, “I’ve passed through this before” , etc.
I believe at several points, we’ve had our “me-too!” moments. For instance, someone says: “I love Westlife songs, Cabin biscuits and Smoove”, and you reply: “Wow, me too!”. That simple statement helps us connect over things we can relate to.
Why you shouldn’t join the #metoo movement
I stated earlier that this is a laudable campaign, so you are probably wondering why I am telling you not to join. Well, it’s a not-so-farfetched single reason and here it is:
You shouldn’t join if you want in for the wrong motives.
As commonly expected, certain people already have and are still hijacking noble causes like this for malicious reasons. Some jump on the train, not to support the cause, but falsely to gain cheap attention or to use it as a front and weapon to project their personal issues against others.
This ends up drawing focus away from the original purpose and gives occasion for attack on the movement.
So before you do more harm than good, if you want to join for the above motives, then don’t. If you need further convincing, here are some effects of falsely joining trends with wrong motives:
1. You lose credibility: Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? Or the Kevin character in Big Fat Liar and Big Fatter Liar? You probably learnt a thing or two about losing trust and credibility. Whatever you do or say, whether good or bad will be weighed in light of what you are known for. So if you have a track record of lying and jumping on trends with fake stories, if/when you are calling attention to a real issue that affects you, people would most likely disbelief and/or ignore you because to them, it’s just another publicity/excuse-making/attention-seeking stunt.
2. It insults real victims : Whatever the reason is, attaching wrongly to things like this is a total disrespect to both the real people who go through these issues and those who reach out to help. For instance, due to the fact that some people lie and make false sexual abuse accusations, many real victims who bravely come out are often seen as liars and for fear of being labeled one, some never speak up. You also waste the time and resources of people who honestly seek to help you.
More so, you trivialise someone else’s experience. “Me too” stands to pass the message : “You are not alone in this and I feel your pain”, but some people just turn it into a “who-suffer-pass” competition.
This can be quite painful and I think most of us can relate. For example, you complain about something, say hunger, and people start arguing with you and one another that their own hunger situation is more dire than yours. It makes me wonder if someone is giving awards for The Best Sufferer. Share your story, but don’t attempt to trivialise someone else’s experience to make yours seem more touching and get more attention.
Check out a similar article on this by Anastasia .
3. You could be ruining a life: I’m all for people bearing the consequences of their actions, good or bad. So tell the truth, rat out the perpetrator and push that proper justice is served.
The problem, however, is when the accused is innocent. God help him/her if thorough investigations are not done especially in very sensitive cases. Your cover-up/joking/seemingly harmless/attention-seeking statements are probably going to cost someone his/her freedom, sometimes life.
If you check out The Innocence Project , you’ll see sad cases of the people behind bars over wrong accusations. Here in Nigeria, I’ve heard cases of innocent people lynched to death because someone just shouted thief! in the market. Lives and destinies wasted like that. So before you tell that lie to form #metoo gang member, know that you are potentially costing someone his/her time, life, family, future, career, dreams, etc.
With these few points of mine, I hope I’ve been able to convince you not to jump on any trend anyhow for false reasons. Rather find ways to support the cause and stand against inequality.
A big shout out to brave hearts, men and women, who are sharing their stories and creating awareness about issues. I see you and I’m with you.
What do you think of the #metoo movement? Have you ever felt like your story was trivialised before? Ever been a victim of wrong accusation? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to share. Thanks!
-The Value Adder™