#METOOSDAY

Men crush on Mondays, Women crush on Wednesdays, and in between, there’s #METOOSDAY.

Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Remember the #METOO movement? Everybody finally coming together to speak out and support each other about the overwhelmingly high numbers of sexual assault experiences? How about the endless stories of rape victims being publicly shamed while their attackers are protected, defended, and either handed down an extremely lenient sentence or not convicted at all?

All of this probably sounds familiar because it didn’t happen that long ago, and none of it has really ever stopped.

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I think the internet and technology is a funny thing. When it was developing, we thought about the endless possibilities about how technological advances and the internet would open a door to a vast spectrum of knowledge, and new scientific techniques to help us learn new skills, create better and more bulletproof evidence in court cases, and overall move forward as a society and create a better world…but instead we’re posting pictures of our food, some mindless celebrity, or a video of a stupid kid eating a Tide pod. The only thing that’s changed about the justice system is a brighter spotlight to showcase how broken it is with no end in sight, or solution in the making.

I’m not trying to be negative, I’m just sick of the misuse of a platform that can actually help us change what’s broken about our justice system and the struggles that stem from society’s predispositions about sexuality, among other things. We only ever stay outraged long enough to re-post an article while it’s “trending” in the news, and then it disappears. I don’t even think that it’s intentional, I just think it has become so normal that people just go numb and forget about it.

The #METOO movement is a huge step forward, but letting it die off as another trending post will be 5 giant steps backwards. It’s a lot of work, and I think that Tarana Burke, the founder of the movement, has done a tremendous and extremely inspiring job of creating a world where victims feel more comfortable and safe coming forward to report these crimes. She, and other people who are fighting against these injustices, don’t deserve to be forgotten. I don’t want to let this movement fade into the algorithm, and I refuse to give these rapists and attackers the dignity of being able to disappear and pretend like what they did never happened.

And so, I will be posting these douche bags every week for #metoosday. It serves as a reminder that although we have made progress, and more people are coming forward, our justice system continues to fail them. We cannot let the faces and stories of these crimes vanish with no consequences. Allowing them to hide and staying quiet enables them further, and keeps victims in a vulnerable position.

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The Brock Turner case in particular was an eye opener for me. People are subjected to sexual assault and harassment before they are at an age where they even understand their own sexuality, and that behavior is not only enabled by society, but encouraged. This case was the last straw. As I read the victims powerful letter that she read in court, it illustrated perfectly what so many of us have gone through. It took me back to every cop, teacher, neighbor, or whoever that shrugged me off or questioned me when I reported any sort of sexual harassment aimed at myself or my friends. She called attention to all the things that we ignore when we choose to blame the victims and protect their abusers. It was all too familiar and it made people realize how often it happened.

And yet, even after going through the grueling process of coming forward, reliving her attack, being bullied and questioned by “authorities”, she got a slap in the face by Judge Aaron Persky who handed down a joke of a sentence (6 months in county jail, of which, Turner only served 3 months) to her convicted rapist and showed her no sympathy.

The glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is that Judge Persky has been fired from his position as a judge and stripped of his pension by the state of California, and Brock Turner’s recent court appeal was denied. It doesn’t change what happened and the baffling injustice of the case, however I still believe that progress is progress, and progress is a process. When we choose to use our voices and platforms for change, it works. If we treat all these cases like high profile cases, the pressure is put on the politicians and courts involved. It reminds them that the world is watching, and that we’ve had enough.

So speak up, spread the word, and keep moving us forward: #metoosday

To learn more about The #METOO Movement, get involved, donate, or find resources through them, visit https://metoomvmt.org/

Rachel Riot