A night with #MeToo Movement founder Tarana Burke

Originally Posted on The Triangle via UWIRE

Photograph courtesy of MIT Media Lab at Flickr.
As someone who stays quiet when the topic of sexual harassment comes up, I felt the need to attend “ A Night With Tarana Burke.” It was a good thing I did.
Civil rights activist and founder of the Me Too Movement Tarana Burke came to Drexel University for a night to share her story.
Burke was met with a standing ovation for over 300 plus of Drexel students April 25. She came to the school to talk about how she started the movement and what she hopes for the future of it.
Burke, a survivor of sexual abuse, founded the Me Too Movement to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse and assault in society.
She came up with the phrase “Me Too” after listening to a girl tell her a story of sexual abuse, and this was the first time Burke could relate to someone and say “me too” as well.
Being apart of one of the organizations that put together the event, I had a meet-and-greet with Burke. I asked her, why the phrase #MeToo. She said the hashtag was not her doing.
Burke would have preferred if all her hard work on the organization would have been brought to light differently because the hashtag often gets her into trouble.
I don’t know if she has ever sat down on television and said “hey, please don’t associate all my personal work with the hashtag and Hollywood, because it’s not about calling out the famous.”
I must admit, I was one of those people who were angry with her last Christmas for trying to get the Christmas song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” off the air given its undertones of sexual assault of some sort.
I was also one of the people upset about the recent #MeToo allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden.
Before you decide to be against something completely, you must get the creator’s story and vision. That’s exactly what Burke did during her event.
I wasn’t a fan of her or her movement because I felt like she was on a witch hunt. It seemed to me that rather than people coming out on their own and telling her, she was just going around and accusing people.
These were some examples of the movement she didn’t like.
Burke thought the Biden accusations were confusing. “This situation with Joe Biden has been really interesting to me because I think that the work that Joe Biden has done to support women’s issues and politics has been great, But what he has done has shined a light on what I call “Good Guyism.’”
“Good Guyism” is when men, most of the time big influencers, get a “pass” because of the good deeds they have done.
I didn’t like or agree with that statement of hers, for sometimes people are just good guys, and action can be taken the wrong way by someone.
Because of Biden’s work for women and for this to be the only allegation against him, I personally give him the “Good Guyism” pass.
Burke wanted it to be noted that she is not on some witch hunt for abusers.
“A movement is about healing and action. A hashtag is about media; a hashtag is not a movement,” Burke noted.
She wants her movement to be separated from the hashtag.
She gave her speech in a different form. It was Burke and her friend on stage, and. The friend would ask Burke a question pertaining to her heritage, her activist start or her upbringing, and then Burke would give a long but fun answer.
Burke is such a down to earth person who simply just wants to better people and make them aware of their actions.
Towards the end of the event, it was open floor, and some students got to ask questions Burke didn‘t get to cover in her talk.
She responded to everyone with her truth and with the best knowledge she could. There’s something about her that even with a serious topic such as sexual assault, she can still make you find the humor in it.
“If a man tells you he doesn‘t know how to date in 2019 because of the Me Too Movement, you need to walk away from him because the real question is, what were you doing before?”, Burke said.
I was happy she made that comment, but I still didn‘t agree with it.
I do think men have to be very cautious with the things they do in today’s world. Because, you never know, as a man, you can put your hand on someones back for a picture and now you have a case against you.
Is she saying every man is bad, no? But I feel like she makes people second guess everyone they’re in the room with, both men and women.
Something as simple as her comment, though serious, were delivered in such a humorous way that you couldn‘t help but agree and chuckle at the antics of people sometimes.
I wished she would have given her own clear definitions of assault, harassment and abuse. I believe everyone has their own definition of them.
I think much of what she said never gave one straight answer; she either beat around the bush or gave three answers.
She touched a bit on male abuse as well, and I loved that. It’s a great reminder that the #MeToo is for #MenToo as well.
At the end of it all, I learned to appreciate her movement and separate her from the hashtag. I learned that a closed mind can sometimes be opened by the right person.

Read more here: https://www.thetriangle.org/opinion/a-night-with-me-too-movement-founder-tarana-burke/
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