I hear you. I see you. I believe you. And, you are not alone.
This was the basis of the Me Too Movement Tarana Burke started in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence
particularly Black women and other women of color from low-wealth communities
find pathways to healing.
“I could not find the strength to say out loud the words that were ringing in my head over and over again as she tried to tell me what she had endured. I watched her walk away from me as she tried to recapture her secrets and tuck them back into their hiding place. I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone, and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper…me too.” – Tarana Burke
The viral #MeToo campaign propelled into the mainstream two years ago today. Within 48 hours the hashtag had been tweeted more than 500,000 times, giving thousands the space and voice to discuss sexual assault and violence, often experienced in the workplace.
And yet, sexual harassment remains widespread, and fundamentally detrimental to equality. It is a way to keep women out of positions of power and influence. It happens in every industry, with most claims filed in industries where the majority of workers are low-paid women of color. Workers in low-paid, tip-based shift jobs are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment, which is one of the major motivators behind fighting to have One Fair Wage included in the Raise Chicago ordinance.
Women Employed has been fighting sexual harassment since our inception. In 1978 we helped define sexual harassment as illegal sex discrimination. Last year, we stood with national partners to call for strengthened protections against harassment in
an open letter in the New York Times
, and followed up by leading and advocating for change in Illinois. This year, we worked in coalition to pass an Illinois
Anti-Workplace Harassment Bill
—one of the most sweeping employment-related civil rights reforms this state has seen in years.
We are working to change cultures and mindsets
so that aggressors are held accountable and victims are seen, heard, and believed. Join the conversation on social media today to demand change using the hashtag
. And see two additional national and local actions you can take to make a difference later in this issue of WE-Zine.
In solidarity with all my sisters still wearing their masks,