Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you probably know all about the #MeToo movement. This uprising has uprooted prominent names in entertainment, politics, sports, and many other industries the world over. A few of the names who have seen their careers affected include Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, and Bill O’Reilly.
In recent months, though, other stories have dominated the news cycle. One is the resurgence of Black Lives Matter, and another is the coronavirus. Today, we’ll examine the intersection of the #MeToo Movement with the coronavirus.
The #MeToo Movement is On Pause
Part of what made the #MeToo movement get so much attention is how widespread it revealed the sexual harassment problem to be. Some people didn’t realize how much of an issue this still was in society. Sexual harassment can occur:
- When someone is walking down the street
- At their job
- When they’re using public transportation
- And in many other scenarios
When more than 100 women accused Harvey Weinstein, it was a wakeup call for many people. Individuals from all walks of life stepped forward to reveal their personal harassment stories.
Now, it seems as though that movement is on pause because of the coronavirus prevalence. Close to 120,000 Americans have died, as of this writing. It appears as if, by necessity, #MeToo has moved to the backburner.
It’s Important to Keep #MeToo in Our Minds
The pandemic is an unprecedented public health crisis, and it shows no signs of being over anytime soon. Some states seem to be reopening too fast, and the issue’s political nature is a significant part of that.
It makes sense to keep talking about Covid-19 because we still seem to be a long way from eradicating it. At the same time, dismissing #MeToo from our minds would be a grave mistake. That’s because:
- Sexual abuse and violence are rising with more individuals stuck at home with their abusers
- Many individuals are returning to work, and the toxic culture might not necessarily have changed
The #MeToo movement matters so much because it keeps this issue freshly in people’s minds. Seeing prominent individuals brought to justice for their misdeeds is sometimes what it takes for harassed and abused people to speak up.
The Movement Going Forward
Much as it would be easy to say that we’ve solved the problem of sexual abuse and harassment, that isn’t so. The movement drew attention to an issue that is widespread and ongoing.
Some men expressed amazement when so many women came forward to talk about their experiences. Of course, there are no gender restrictions with abuse and harassment, but it seems as though some individuals turned a blind eye to something that easily could be rampant in their workplace.
It might be happening on the bus or train right next to them. It could be happening with a construction worker catcalling a woman as she’s walking down the street.
What You Can Do at Work
As a society, there is no simple, all-encompassing answer to sexual harassment or abuse. However, there are specific actions that each of us can take, even with the overarching issue of Covid-19 weighing heavily on our minds.
In the workplace, you can be mindful of saying off-color or inappropriate things that might offend your coworkers. You can make sure never to touch anyone without their consent, under any circumstances.
What You Can Do at Home
It’s also helpful to watch for abusive situations, such as mistreatment of one of your relatives. You can look for inappropriate behavior at family gatherings. Verbal abuse might indicate physical or sexual misconduct behind closed doors.
Harsh words or laying hands on someone can be a precursor to sexual violence. If you feel that one of your friends or relatives is in danger, talk to them about it and see if there is anything you can do to help.
The pandemic is one of the greatest challenges of modern times, but the #MeToo movement is an issue that we needed to bring to light, and we cannot afford as a society to forget about it.
It seems likely that medical science will develop a vaccine for Covid-19 at some point. However, there is no vaccine for sexual misdeeds.
The most effective balm is to speak out when you see something. Silence is complacence, and ridding the world of sexual misconduct is just as vital as defeating Covid-19.