Never before has the issue of violence against girls and women been so publicly talked about. It seems like everyone is getting involved in the conversation – even Hollywood movie stars. But, what exactly is being said?
The #MeToo hashtag, which denounces sexual harassment and abuse, has spread globally. It’s been tweeted 1.7 million times across 85 countries* to be exact.
Today’s trend of receiving news from hashtags and tweets (up to 280 characters now, thanks Twitter) makes information more accessible, but how much does it resonate beyond snappy soundbites?
I fear we’re becoming desensitised to the sentiment behind the hashtag. Especially when it comes to an issue like gender-based violence. #MeToo is catchy, but what lies behind it is significant. It symbolises a harsh reality where worldwide, 1 in 3 women** have experienced physical or sexual violence – mostly by an intimate partner. Or that in 2012, 1 in 2 women were killed by their partner or families compared to 1 in 20 men.
Men and boys are part of the gender equality puzzle, but for a moment, let’s keep the spotlight just on girls and women. Because they need it. Because the facts are sobering.