The ‘me too.’ movement started in 2006 as a program of our organization, Just Be Inc. In our work with young, women we not only encountered more and more disclosures of sexual violence, we also encountered almost an equal amount of youth who had experienced sexual violence and didn’t know how to name it. When we turned to guidance counselors and local rape crisis centers for assistance we found them to be ill equipped to confront the issue.
The only ‘expertise’ we had was as survivors ourselves.
I had spent many years trying to understand and heal from the trauma of my own sexual assaults. It wasn’t until I was able to connect with other folks who created safe space for me to process my pain and who deeply empathized with me that I felt like I had ‘permission’ to heal. They literally gave me a pathway from victim to survivor and I wanted to do that for the people in my community – and in particular the young people.
As the work started to grow the need to expand ‘me too.’ beyond young women of color became obvious. While the work we do is still largely focused on Black and Brown women and girls, it also included those who identify as women and those who don’t conform to any gender. There is no question that sexual violence is not limited by race, class or gender; but the responses to it are certainly. Me too exists so that folks who are often left out the conversations about survival and healing have a place to process and find an entry point in the healing trajectory.
We are organizers at heart who want to uplift the idea of radical community healing as a social justice issue and ensure that our folks know that healing and wholeness is possible and we want to use, among other things, the power of empathy to fuel it.