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#MeToo Riding the Waves of Change

We have come a long way, raising our global voices. The recent #MeToo is another strong leap forward, evidence and result of so many of us working together toward a world in which women and girls are safe, and free, and able to live our lives with respect, and as we choose.

#MeToo has emerged from our making our stories known, documenting and speaking out against violence and other forms of discrimination against women locally and globally for more than a half century. It has grown from global actions on16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. It has been fed by the 1 Billion Rising Movement, millions dancing on V Day to Break The Chain.

#MeToo has grown from listening to each other over decades. It has comefrom discovering and speaking out aboutrampant incest and sexual assault across North America in the 1980's. #MeToo was started 10 years ago by Tarana Burke It was nurtured bywomen, in particular African American women, who steadfastly pushed forthe US Supreme Court’s1986 decisionthat sexual harassment was a violation of the Civil Rights Act.It came too out of collective anger watching the1991 televised hearings that Anita Hill was subjected to in the US, speaking out about sexualharassment at workby a man who was accepted as a judge of the US Supreme Courtafter her testimony was rejected. It came from outrage here in Canadawhen Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of violence toward women, and statistics made public that out of 1,000 sexual assaults here, only 33 are reported; of these, 12 result in charges, six go to trial, and fewer than half of 6 result in conviction. Currently #MeToo gathered momentum from #Been RapedNeverReported. #MeToo was fed by the trial of Bill Cosby, a 50-year chronicle of accusations, a trial that at least ended in jury deadlock. #MeToo rose in beautiful rage from the thousands who came together on the streets globally in Women’s Marches, and it was fed by the celebration of our wave of WorldPulse photos for International Women’s Day 2017. The momentum has built from every story, every action that has been and continues to be written and voiced. It has been built from every time we have been ridiculed, discounted or punished for speaking out, and we refused to be silenced. It has been built by our frustration at inaction by our governments to acknowledge the extent of violence and containment of women, and in particular right now at the inaction regarding assaults in workplaces, and the firing of women who spoke out. #MeToo has grown as wellout of frustration at the betrayal by and/or silence of men who refused to believe us or speak up.

The ability to speak out freely and to have equitableaccess to press coverage is still an unfinished patchwork, with some having success and others still facing ridicule and threats, or being ignored. #MeToo has been getting news coverage because of the popularity offamous people who have come forward as victims or been exposed as aggressors. The next task for news mediais to continue to cover violence against women and girls until all of the violence is addressed. This meansrevisiting the history of the women who created this momentum,acknowledging that we have been speaking out on this for many years and not accepting that change comes slowly. And it means going far beyond rich, famous and white women. Thismomentum is riding on the enormity of what has been exposed, and on the continuationof new stories being added. #MeToo is being strengthened in a way we have not experienced before through the new voices coming forward, throughthe response by employers, and throughthe vocal support of men who are now becoming able to grasp the size of this,and speak out with us about the multitudes of women who never got the job, were harassed on the job, were fired for not silently complying and who, they now recognize, have important stories to tell. The momentum is gathering as men begin to talk about abuse they too have suffered from men, and understand that it is a culture of dominance that we have been trying to change.#MeToo is as strong as it is because of the bravery of women to speak out, because of the multitudes of us who have come together in the streets, because of all of the support we have given each other to find and raise our voices, and because of the level of communication between us all, now possible through online media and through our ongoing determination to create a shift that reaches to everyone on this planet. It is because of our telling our stories and retelling each others’. It has taken enormous time and effort, but lately each of these waves we are building is stronger than the onebefore. It is all of these stories that we are sharing within World Pulse and all of the stories we continue to hear from other groups, that for me, keep me educated,keep me determined, keep me hopeful,keep me contributing alongside all of you to these growing shifts, these quantum leaps we are creating, these wonderful waves of change. We are here to do this, and we are making it happen. Let’s continue until we can ask, “Do you have food, and water, and healthcare, access to the money you need, a homeand a loving community, are you free from all forms of violence, and are you flying in your own beautiful power?” and hear back “MeToo”.

Gender-based Violence
Northern America
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