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Following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, many celebrities have used the opportunity to give a platform to sexual harassment, assault and/or rape. Celebrities and ordinary people alike have taken to social media to share their own accounts and have used the #MeToo to express their unity on the topic. Every trending hashtag such as #MenAreTrash, #ZumaMustFall and now with #MeToo has its own accompanying criticism. The aim of the hashtag is to get people talking. What people choose to talk about differs (as it should) from person to person. Here is what we’re choosing to talk about here at Teenzone:

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal was revealed we were shocked at how many people fell victim to Weinstein. As the numbers grew and big names such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow came forward we were glad they did so but we were also perplexed as to why they had not done so earlier. Yes, Weinstein is, or rather was, a big Hollywood-producer but surely Jolie or Paltrow are big enough stars to have survived the backlash coming forward would bring? For whatever reason they chose not to and although its easy for us to sit in the safety of our office and criticize them, many people often choose not to speak out publicly about such heavy topics.

Nearly half the people in our office have at one point or another been sexually harassed, assaulted and/or raped. The circumstances differ from person to person. Although I am quite open about the incidents that have taken place in my life, I haven’t always been. In fact, I kept it bottled up for a number of years until it eventually manifested in other ways consequently hindering my way of life. I had to face the fact that I had been violated and I had to face the fact that I wasn’t the only who had been. I wasn’t exactly ‘special’ but I also couldn’t stand the fact that I was so easily dismissed. 

It’s hard to believe but in Hollywood particularly, many women and men (because it’s most definitely not just women who are victims) have felt that same violation. You’ve heard of the ‘casting couch’ before? If not then you should know that it is the idea that you must exchange sexual favours with big shots such as Weinstein in order to get anywhere in Tinseltown. It is something that has been happening for decades but it is probably the first time ever that a group of strong and talented actors have chosen to use their platform in society to address the issue.

#MeToo allows victims the chance to share their story with others, like various celebs have, and through the sharing process perhaps you are able to rid yourself of that crippling burden. Perhaps your act of sharing inspires others to share their stories as well and so the pattern continues. A hashtag won’t solve everything but if it manages to help maybe a handful of people, it it not worth taking part in? It doesn’t stop sexual harassment from taking place but it does help create a digital awareness, encouraging victims to speak out and seek counsel.

Although the hashtag allows for such interaction, it doesn’t solve the problem entirely. It only encourages victims to come forward, it doesn’t prevent ordinary and innocent people from becoming victims all together. That is the aim, is it not? The issue definitely goes deeper than just a mere hashtag on social media. This is a stance we fully understand and accept as truth but we won’t dismiss the hashtag as meaningless altogether.

For expert help visit: Shukumisa, Sexual Assault Clinic, or Tears Foundation Charity.

For South Africa’s sexual assault related laws download this pdf:


By: Kriszti Bottyan

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