Can the #MeToo and #TimesUp Campaigns stop sexual assaults?

Seth Goldstein (TC)'s picture

Over the past few months, there has been a large influx of women reporting sexual assaults against them. As we have seen, women that have allegations against men that have abused them have begun to use the #MeToo phrase to let people know they are a victim of sexual assault, but also to raise awareness and encourage other women to speak out against their attackers. However, this movement is one that is not new. The Me Too campaign began more than 10 years ago by Tarana Burke to "help surviviors of sexual violence, particulary young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing." This has spread well beyond women of color from low wealth communities to just about everyone that has been affected by sexual violence. It is letting survivors of these attacks know that they are not alone and that they should come forward. The Me Too campaign acknowledges people that speak out about their experiences as "Silence Breakers". 

The Me Too campaign, which was developed for women of color and people living in low wealth communities, has spurred another sexual assault campaign called the Time's Up campaign. Time's Up Now campaign focuses on what we have seen in the news recently: sexual assault or sexual violence against actresses or other women in the industry. Because of the popularity and media revolving around these women, the Time's Up initiative has gained a lot of support and awareness. For example, a lot of women and men talked about how "Time is Up" for sexual violence at the Golden Globe Awards. 

These types of programs got me thinking if sexual assault will actually diminish because of them. Since 1998, about 18 million women have reported sexual assault, but there are millions more that are never reported. 

Some questions to think about:

Do you believe that these programs and campaigns can help diminish the amount of sexual assaults occuring?

Will people feel more comfortable sharing their story if others share theirs?

Are there other campaigns or initiatives that can be created in order to stop sexual assault?

Can programs like these be developed on a smaller scale such as campaigns at high schools and univerisities?