Part Five (Women’s Rights) – Can we Talk About this in Class: Unpacking Some Complexities of the Me Too Movement

The #MeToo Movement: South Korea and the United States- https://yonseiuicscribe.com/the-metoo-movement-south-korea-and-the-united-states/

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Introduction
An appropriate way to end this series of articles on women’s rights is to also pay homage to the women that have endured sexual violence and have had to remain silent due to fear of retaliation or humiliation. The most recent and broad discussion about this topic has been through the Me Too movement. 

Definition and History
The Me Too movement (Sometime written as a hashtag, “#MeToo movement”), is a movement that aims to bring more attention to the epidemic of sexual harassment and sexual assault against women. Although some conversations have been surfacing surrounding violence against males. 

While the Me Too movement is fair reaching globally having various manifestations throughout the world, this article will focus on the US movement. The movement began in October 2017 on social media in the form of a hashtag aimed at bringing awareness to the often hidden sexual violence that takes place in the workplace (Here workplace should be read as middle class, corporate America primarily). Shortly afterward the online movement began, it was revealed publicly that Harvey Weinstein (Renowned filmmaker) had been sexually assaulting women in his role as filmmaker and media mogul for decades, often threatening to ruin women’s careers if they did not acquiesce to his advances. Actress Alyssa Milano is credited for popularizing the movement on Twitter in 2017. Taking their cue from Milano a number of other actresses also began to post about sexual violence.

Me Too Movement’s Impact on Various Institutions and Industries
In recent times the movement has begun to become more nuanced, in that people have begun to speak against sexual assault and harassment as it relates to specific industries and institutions. Examples include exposing abuse in churches, educational settings, in the media, in fashion, in the financial industry, in medicine, in the field of journalism, in sports and in the military. The movement has been under girded by other high profile sexual assault scandals such as the conviction and incarceration of Bill Cosby. The Catholic Church scandals can be paired with the Me Too movement as well. The Me Too brings renewed energy for the advocacy of the many people that were sexually assaulted as children in the church.

Lack of Consideration of Minority Women
One of the criticisms of the movement is akin to what we have been writing about in previous articles. We must take into consideration the notion of intersectionality when thinking about sexual harassment and violence. Many women, due to a lack of power (Result of low socio-economic status or racial prejudice) are more susceptible to harassment than others. This does not negate the movement, but like mainstream feminism, the Me Too movement has been largely focused on middle and upper class women of European decent. As we have discussed in previous articles, the womanist movement was founded as a corrective to mainstream feminism, which has often been silent on issues related to minority women in particular. In the same way, the Me Too movement perhaps ignores the long history of sexual violence against African American women and others. For example, black women were purchased as slaves for sexual purposes for centuries before Hollywood found its voice. Bringing attention to the frequency of rape in slave plantation life in history would seem to fit right in with the discourse of the Me Too movement. Furthermore, the movement does not properly or adequately address the epidemic of violence against Native American women, taking place right now in the US and in Canada. In addition, there is a stereotype that women of color (Latina, African American and Native women) are eager to have sex and “want it.” Thus, many men force them into doing things they had no intention of doing, which is non-consensual sexual activity (which amounts to rape or sexual battery at best). We should not downplay the great work being done through the Me Too movement, but it should be more intentional about being more and more inclusive. 

In the Classroom- Activities for Integrating this Material into the Classroom
Daily or weekly journals
Many students in our time have been the victim of sexual harassment and violence; including sexual battery, molestation, and even rape. One of the issues that keeps these crimes hidden is the silence of the victim, which often protects the perpetrator. Often it is a family member or close friend that has violated the person so it is often not spoken of. Another aspect of the crimes that keep the issues hidden is shame and the victim blaming themselves. Effective healing can take place by providing students a safe space to share their story. Teachers can, not only focus on sexual violence, but provide prompts or questions that address abuse in general and even speak about times they were victimized or bullied.

Anonymity is good. Writing can give students a voice.
Students can use writing for self-expression and to share their story. Erin Gruwell (The author of The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them) used writing to give her students voice and an outlet for their pain and suffering. Gruwell taught in a neighborhood plagued by gang violence in Long Beach, California. A very effective pedagogical practice she implemented in her classroom was to give students the option NOT to share their writing with the teacher or class if they did not feel comfortable. In this way, students could still journal and release that pain and burden from their story without fear of being ridiculed or misunderstood. But on the flip side, if students wanted to share with the group they could also have that option. Gruwell provided a cabinet for students that wanted to share their writing with the teacher and the class. If they wanted their journal read they could  place it in that cabinet at the end of the class period. This exercise could work well with the topic of sexual violence and abuse.

Small Groups or partners work well
Getting anyone to open up about any type of victimization can be tough. And rightly so, because we live in a culture where the victim is often blamed. Women in particular are often depicted as behaving in a certain way where they deserved to be assaulted and harassed. As we have said previously, women of color are often presented as over-sexual and as desiring unsolicited sexual attention from men. These attitudes make it extremely difficult for people to open up. As classroom environments become more and more safe for students, they become more trusting and willing to share. This often takes time as the instructor works hard to create a family like environment. When appropriate trust has been established, the teacher can divide students up into small groups of no more than 3 or 4 to share their writings or stories. Of course, it is also important that teachers involve counseling professionals as needed, if students express situations where they are in harm’s way. Students should be made aware of the fact that teachers have an obligation to solicit professional help if they perceive a student is in danger.  

Sample discussion questions or prompts for a Me Too centered writing exercise:
Respond to the following prompt or questions:
We have been discussing various topics surrounding women’s rights in America and the suffering women have undergone.
1. What are aspects of who you are that make you special and unique?
2. What is it about you that makes you deserve to be treated with respect?
3. What are your biggest challenges in life? Dig deep on this one.
4. What things in life are you most afraid of?
5. What aspects of your life make you the most angry and upset? What aspects of your life do you deem unfair?
6. Have you ever felt unsafe or victimized in your home? In your neighborhood? At school? Have you discussed this with anyone? How did you handle it?
7. Have you ever been the victim or target of verbal or physical abuse? How did you handle it?
8. Have you ever been in a situation at school where you feel you were victimized or abused?
9. What are obstacles that have prevented you from sharing these things?

Integrating these activities into the curriculum
This discussion can be integrated into lessons on: 

  • Women’s rights and women’s history.
  • Slavery and Jim Crow and the sexual abuse of African American women.
  • Native American culture and history and victimization of Native women. 
  • A discussion of racism and sexism in the US
  • bullying and harassment at school and online.
  • history, ethnic studies or women’s rights and history in an AP or special topics class.

Other Resources, Lesson Plans and References
Lesson Plans/Curriculum
Me Too Puberty Curriculum
Me Too: A Curriculum for K-12
The Reckoning: Teaching About the #MeToo Moment and Sexual Harassment With Resources From The New York Times
8 Resources for Teaching About #MeToo and Sexual Harassment

References
The #MeToo Movement Makes Its Way Into Harvard Courses
Me Too Movement Summary and History
The #MeToo Moment
7 positive changes that have come from the #MeToo movement



       




29 Comments

  1. Having a daughter, I have fears that she will be a victim of some type of sexual assault/harassment. However, I find it empowering and encouraging that women are finding their voice and standing up against their perpetrators. The Me Too movement has been a positive force in fighting for those who are afraid to speak up against sexual acts that were not consented. I feel like upper-class women have been recognized more than African American, Native-American, or Mexican-American individuals because they have a platform (celebrities, Hollywood “a-listers”).

  2. The idea of talking about the “Me Too” movement in elementary classroom seems a bit ambiguous and scary. This could turn into a very sensitive topic for students or their parents. I love the ideas stated in this article about how to talk about these topics in your classroom. Journals are a great way of having students write about past experiences and feel like they are able to write in confidence. I like the idea of giving students broad prompt about bulling or violence. This allows students to open up if they want to, but does not pressure them. I also liked the idea of using small groups, because students will feel more comfortable opening up when trust is established.

  3. I think the idea of having the students journal is a great idea but I think it would be better since In elementary it could be upsetting to some parents to be very direct about sexual violence. I think I would need to find a way to have them journal and open up but in a way that doesn’t directly instruct them to write about sexual assault. I think as a teacher its very important for us to be observant and to watch for signs of abuse or neglect of any kind to be able to help our students and support them as much as we can. I also think that it is important just like in feminism to have another movement to support women of color that have been affected by sexual violence because they do expirence it differently than white women.

  4. Opening up and talking about sexual assault and violence in the classroom is something that I’m all for. The journal would be the best way for children to open up about it, and give them a confidant if they need one. It doesn’t force them to say anything, but gives them the opportunity.The “Me Too” movement gives people a chance to speak up for themselves without fear of their abusers, and is giving them the strength to talk about it while being around other people who have gone through similar hardships.

  5. I never knew where the “Me Too” movement derived from, so hearing that was very interesting to me. I think the movement has turned into a wonderful, empowering things for both males and females. Bringing teaching and light to sexual assault in the classroom is always tricky. Because you don’t know what everyone has gone through or is going through makes it hard for activists to take place. While a lot of survives have begun to come out and speak about their trauma, others are still very affected by it and talking about it or writing about it can bring back ptsd. It’s okay for sexual assault to be talked about in the classroom but if students don’t feel comfortable participating, they should be able to opt out.

  6. The Me Too movement could be a bit of an uncomfortable topic to discuss in an elementary school classroom, but can be discussed, if done the right and appropriate way. This post talks about the use of journals to allow students to write privately about uncomfortable or “scary” topics they may feel uncomfortable talking about with their parents, classmates, or anyone else. Anonymity is a great way to allow students to find their voice and speak up if necessary, which can pinpoint a major problem that may need to be addressed to the counselor, principal, and family members. This type of writing can be aimed at males, too. This is necessary, so all students have equal opportunities to write about their experiences. It should be stated that both men and women can experience different forms of violence and trauma, and that it is a serious topic that is nothing to joke about. Multiple class discussions should take place, talking about the importance of reaching out to a trusted adult when something does not feel right. Parents may not be comfortable with this type of talk at school, so a detailed newsletter should be sent out, describing exactly what will be taking place while discussing such serious topics, like the Me Too movement and violence in general. Parents and teachers must share communication at all times, so when a problem arises, it can be taken care of immediately.

  7. Opening up and talking about sexual assault and violence in the classroom is something we should all encourage. I think that it is awesome that women are using their voice to tell their story, while also empowering others to do the same. I think a journal would be an awesome outlet for kids in middle school and up. I believe elementary school students are way too vulnerable and young to be able to comprehend all of that information.

  8. It is hard for me to imagine that I might have students in the classroom that have been victims of abuse and sexual assault/harassment, but I know it is the unfortunate truth. Talking about the “Me Too” movement in class and giving students a chance to have their voices heard is intimidating, but I definitely want to give them an outlet to share their truth. I like the idea stated in the article about having daily or weekly journals that prompt students to open up about trauma they have experienced or a time in their life where they felt victimized or bullied. I also love the idea of giving my students a chance to not share their writing with anyone because it can be very therapeutic to just get all of your feelings down on paper. Then, if a student feels particularly compelled to share their writing with me, they can put in a safe place and I will read it privately. I also want to make sure I incorporate lessons that focus on people who have endured sexual abuse, victimization, bullying, and harassment. More than anything, I want my students to know that they are not alone and that they will get through whatever battle they are currently fighting. I want them to view themselves as survivors, not victims because they are so strong and courageous.

  9. Going into the education field I know there are going to be times when I come across students who have been sexually assaulted or harassed by someone. Often times it is by someone they know and they are afraid to speak up because of what might happen to them. I think students will have a hard time opening up and talking about this to people they know. I believe it is an important issue which needs to be discussed. In the article it talks about ways which you can talk about it in your classroom through a journal. I think that’s a great way to have students talk about what has happened. It will be good for them to talk about their feelings and it will help them in the end. I want to make sure my students feel safe and they can talk to me if they need too. I don’t want anyone to go through sexual assault or harassment. If a student chooses to write about what has happened to them I want them to know that it will only be read by me and I will take the appropriate actions to help them. I want them to know that are not alone and I will help them the best that I can. The students this happens too are not victims, they are survivors and they deserve to heal.

  10. As I was in the classroom today I found my self saying to my cooperating teacher “our students are impacting ourselves just as much as we are impacting theirs” while I was saying this I couldn’t of came up with a betters statement. Every day in the classroom we are making a difference in someones life. Whether it may be talking with a student about something that happened over the weekend or even telling them you liked their shirt. We apart of our students lives. I love how in this article you talk about having the students keep journals every day and I honestly believe that this can truly make an impact on our students. Most students are scared to share stories or speak out to others when they are in times of need. But allowing a student to even express their thoughts and feelings down on paper can make the the biggest impact to them. It can make them feel relieved just by writing in the classroom. The book The Freedom Writers is truly an AMAZING book if anyone has not read it then they need to. It truly opens your eyes as to how much a teacher and students writing can change the world.

  11. I was scrolling through the different articles and I was immediately drawn to read this article based on the title. I agree with the part that journals can be an effective way for students to express themselves and they can use that as an outlet. I also agree that it’s important to teach students about the things happening in society, because it’s important for them to be aware. I also really appreciate the discussion questions and prompts for journal entries that are listed towards the end of the article. I think this would be a great way for students to learn about bullying and how mean behavior/bullying happens in the real world besides just at school. The more we educate our students and make them aware of the world the better off they will be! It’s important that we help shape them into informed citizens.

  12. I’m glad that this article mentioned intersectionality, because I think that in terms of the Me Too movement and feminism in general, minority women are often glossed over in the conversation. It is important for us white women to remember that whatever we have endured here in America, as horrible as it may have been, it pales in comparison to the horrors that minority women (particularly black women and Native American women) have been through. I completely agree that writing can be an effective opportunity for healing for students, even younger children in elementary grades. I have also heard of an activity called “I Wish My Teacher Knew…” where students can leave notes, anonymous or not, for their teachers about things they want kept private. I think this can allow us to really hear our students and give them a safe and trusting space for them to open up to us and let us help them.

  13. The #MeToo Movement is something that is very popular within our society today. Chances are, students have seen the mention of the movement through some sort of media outlet. I think because of this, it is okay to discuss it in class with some discretion. The topic of sexual assault is unfortunately something that has a heavy relevance and is something that can be prevented with education of the topic. As long as resources are available to support those students that may need additional information, or would like to know more, discussing the #MeToo Movement and sexual assault would be beneficial for students.

  14. Overall this article was very impactful. As a woman I often have this constant uneasy fear of the unknown that can occur like sexual violence. I think the Me Too movement is so important and something we should be able to openly talk about. The article mentions bringing this openness into the classroom with journals. Writing is such an outlet for so many people and giving students an anonymous voice to vent out any bullying or things going on in their world is an amazing way to build that trust with students.

  15. I have a lot to say because I found this article sermonically inspiring.  I felt myself nodding in agreeance as I read, and at the end thinking “wow I can incorporate that into MY teaching,” as I paused to consider ways I can even modify it for younger grades.  As a woman, I am thankful the Me Too Movement closet doors have been opened in my generation, after thousands of years of women being seen by men as the weaker or inferior species.I have talked to conservative elders who have been affected by the patriarchy’s “take what you think is yours” advances, as well as baby boomers and millennials, and sadly heard stories of adolescents who have had their sense of a safe childhood unfairly taken from them without consent.  But in all of my discussions with people who have been touched, spoken to, or violated inappropriately, there is a distinction among the victims who speak out. The fact that the individuals who feel safe enough to come out have been predominately  white women of higher socioeconomic backgrounds was something I noticed early on in the twitter movement, and its foolish to believe that these women and girls are the only demographic who want to come forward about their assaults. Ironically, Tarana Burke is an African American civil rights activist who actually began #MeToo in 2006, only to have Alyssa Milano get most of the credit for it 11 years later.  This movement does need to be more inclusive, but more than just the movement, society needs to change in all other areas where prejudice dictates people’s decisions to call for action. I’m sure women of all races and ethnicities would feel better about coming forward if they thought their voices would be heard and real actions would follow instead of their confessions being tossed aside as if they are not as important as people with more “leverage.” A movement about a power-imbalance and rupturing the silence of victims but it heeds a power imbalance within its coalition sends a dubious message about its unity.   The ideas about using this platform in classrooms is also another aspect that spoke to me in this article.  The anonymous journal as a way for students to candidly and therapeutically share about themselves to their peers or teacher is brilliant.  I especially loved the thought provoking prompts that required students to look inside themselves to pen their perception of their personal value, such as explaining how you are special, or what makes you worthy of respect. That exercise in itself can establish student feelings of self-efficacy that can lead them to be respectful of as well as empathetic to other’s personal self-expression. And that opens a door to trust to be able to open up about experiences (good and bad), and influences students to help each other and be there for each other. 

  16. I do believe the #MeToo movement needs to become more inclusive; like mentioned in the article, there are conversations surfacing about men who have suffered from sexual assault. I think men and women of all race/ethnicities should feel like their voices would be heard and responded to in the same way during this movement. Having a brother who has been a victim of violent sexual assault, advocating for his voice during this movement is important to me. While there is this ongoing conversation about women and sexual assault, there is also this stigma that men shouldn’t talk about it because of…what? Pride? Loss of masculinity? It makes them”weak”? I think the #MeToo movement has great intentions, but definitely needs to move in a direction being inclusive of all people affected by sexual violence.

    Along with this article, and related to my future as an educator, I love the idea of opening up a discussion or safe place for students to open up. Because the #MeToo movement is all over social media, and social media is becoming more and more prevalent in young students lives, I feel it is appropriate to have these conversations in a classroom. I think there are definitely boundaries and conversations to be had with parents prior, but as long as it is being done in an appropriate manner I think it is an important topic to brig up in a classroom, especially of older students. For younger students, you could still use this idea of what I like to call “Journal Dumping” (dumping all of your feelings into writing), but focus more on bullying in general when having them write.

  17. I loved this article, it covers every facet of the MeToo movement. The MeToo movement is a fantastic thing that has brought the reality of sexual assault to life, it has opened the eyes of people across the internet to how often these things occur, how anyone can be effected and how hidden sexual assult is in the world around us leading many people to never report or even speak of it. I also loved that this article pointed out the flaws of the MeToo movement how, while being open to everyone’s stories, it manifests its focus to white upper middle class women, ignoring the oversexualization of minority women, I feel like this is so important but is so often ignored because it is also seen as a positive movement. Of course it is one but we must understand the faults of a movement and why they occur if we ever plan on making significant change for everyone rather than just a small section that is facing the problem while unintentionally or intentionally continuing to silence the rest. Other than the movement itself I really like the idea of implementing journals that are as shareable as the student wishes, I think this is a great way to get students to write, it teaches them healthy coping mechanisms and gives them a safe and optional way to receive help and is definitely something I intend to implement into my classroom in the future.

  18. I think the #MeToo movement is so important in today’s society. So many women have experienced some type of assault and knowing that women with higher stakes held against them makes it easier for them to speak out about this issue. I really enjoyed the journaling for each student and then giving them the option to either show the teacher, read it to the class, or keep to themselves. Not only does this help kids see that adults are people that can help, they can also see that they aren’t the only ones going through something like this. This is so important for kids to understand because things like sexual assault happen to children way too often.

  19. In my opinion I believe the Me Too movement is very important in todays world. Many women have been affected by this, and having the Me Too movement makes it more comfortable and easier for women to talk about their experience. I feel like this can be hard to talk about in an elementary school setting, but it can be done if its handled correctly and in the right manner. It is such an important topic for our students to understand because sexual assault unfortunately can happen and may be happening to some of our own children and they need to know that its okay to tell or speak out. If we keep quiet about this issue, nothing will change. I really enjoyed this article and think it was very helpful to read.

  20. The Me Too Movement has gotten a lot of attention and publicity in the last few years. However, before reading this article I did not much thought into the lack of minority groups being included in the media. This is something that, as part of the Me Too Movement, should have already gotten more attention. Women of color are, as explained in the article, are often times characterized by stereotypes and ignored in situations such as these. Intersectionality is something that needs to be discussed in all aspects of society, especially with something as important as sexual assault. As a future teacher I think it will be a very difficult topic to discuss for everyone involved, so I really like the idea for journaling. This would give students the outlet they may need without forcing them to share anything that may make them feel uncomfortable.

  21. This article was interesting to me, as I had never known too much about the “Me Too” movement. I had definitely seen things on social media of it or about it, but I had never known the real intention for it, other than giving a voice to people who have been afflicted by sexual assault. It was surprising to me to find out that the movement was actually intended to be used in the workplace, as I kind of assumed that it just applied to anyone who has been a victim. It saddens me that there is still a lack of inclusion in a movement such as this, and a lot of it I didn’t even know about. It is a very progressive and proactive movement, but with that being said how big is this movement that it should be brought into schools? I think, especially at an elementary age, this could be a little heavy for a school atmosphere. Although the movement is a great tool for people to speak out, I do think it kind of normalizes rape/ sexual assault in some ways. A lot of times, when things become very relevant and popularized, they may sometimes can lose their weight/ effect. I guess I am not really in a place where I can know how it’ll all play out, but as for now I see things ambivalently, as I do think it could be helpful and make problems addressed that need to be addressed, but it also can in some ways make much of sexual assault. Very interesting read.

  22. Talking about issues like this in the classroom is vital to the bettering of out future. Introducing it the classroom, and allowing healthy free flowing thoughts between the students is a great way to promote the idea that these are things which can and should be talked about. I, for one, have hardly heard anything like the Me Too movement or any other movements like it which promote the idea of freeing women from generational bonds. As a future teacher I think it will be hard to discuss stuff like this, but despite the discomfort I still know that it is important to their success not only in their education but in their humanity.

  23. I think it is important to talk about these topics and keep the conversation going in the world. This should not be something that should be pushed under the rug. Victims should be encouraged to share or to not share their stories at their own pace and have a safe space to do that. I think this is the most important part about these topics in an elementary classroom. Students who are far too young to be dealing with these dark issues on their own should have a collective understanding that the adults at their school are people they can go to with any personal issues they need help with. It is important for teachers to create a safe space in their classroom where confidential information can be disclosed and dealt with appropriately. The classroom climate that is set up can have a huge impact on whether a child feels comfortable enough to share difficult information and feelings with his/her teacher.

  24. I really enjoyed reading this article because I am very familiar with the #MeToo movement. I remember scrolling through social media and coming across #MeToo posts and thought how amazing and brave these women are. I don’t know and doubt it were the creator of this movements intention to aim #MeToo at certain ethnicities, but I do know why it is a concern of some. Sexual Assault is a disgusting crime to be a victim of and all victims no matter what race they classify as should feel comfortable speaking up without the fear of being threatened or attacked yet again.

  25. Teaching Elementary school-aged children about the Me Too movement sounds terrifying as a future teacher. However, I liked the options discussed in this article. In school I was never given the option to keep my writing to myself. This meant that I never felt comfortable talking about certain subjects, even though it would have been a healthy exercise to do so. In my classroom, I would love to be able to give students the outlet of writing in a way that lets them be unfiltered. The concern with this could be that there is no accountability for the work, as the teacher doesn’t read the finished product. Sometimes it’s okay to not have every writing assignment be a grade, and if it needs to be, then teachers could simply look to make sure that the students were writing and give them a participation grade.

    The Me Too movement has its flaws, as discussed in the article, as the focus is on middle/upper class women of European descent. My hope is that women with a platform to share will help create a space in the world that believes and does not blame the victim. As I get older, I feel that there have been more women that have had the courage to come forward about sexual assault, or at least, it is more public in the media with the progress of the Me Too movement. I have noticed TV shows have made episodes that have addressed the Me Too movement, and this is a start to having issues addressed and voices heard. Victims see celebrities and characters on shows and movies coming forward about their own traumas, and this will help everyone realize that they are not alone. If the ability to come forward as a sexual assault survivor becomes more common through Hollywood and other communities coming forward, I hope that we will be able to make the world a safer place for all victims.

  26. As a future educator, I think it is critical that we bring up the topic of sexual harassment and assault with our students. Though maybe talking about it in its entirety might not be appropriate for all ages, I think to a certain extent it can be taught to all ages. As educators we have a responsibility to give our students the strength to say “No,” or “stop.” We need to teach them that it is okay to say those things even if someone becomes upset because their own safety and well being is what is most important. I think that a lot of times, from a young age, girls in particular are taught that they need to make everyone comfortable and to say “yes.” We need to encourage them that it is not their responsibility to do so. Even more, teachers I think need to hold the young boys accountable for their actions and not say “boys will be boys.” The mindset of these men started when they were young and for future generations as teachers, we need to teach them that it is not okay.

  27. Sexual harassment is a very touchy subject. It can be very difficult to discuss, but it is very important to talk about. It’s important so that others don’t feel alone when dealing with something similar. It is important especially when educating others and making sure that we know about intersectionality. Women in the minority, unfortunately, are more susceptible to harassment. It’s also true that men are also being harassed. Men usually don’t want to make their voice heard because of the norms that we have set out for differing gender. We should shed light on harassment and getting help that they could need.

  28. Although Alyssa Milano used the hashtag in 2017, it’s important to credit activist and survivor Tarana Burke with the start of the MeToo movement as far back as 2006 on MySpace. According to Burke, her initial mission was to connect survivors of sexual assault to the resources they needed to heal. Although sharing stories can be helpful, I agree with Burke that journaling is a great tool to help survivors achieve that mission, especially in an elementary classroom setting. Open sharing can lead to multiple situations that seem to be counterproductive to the goal of help and healing, but having a separate area for journals where the student wants their work to be read by the teacher is a great idea. We use the word healing because this is trauma, and I would never ask a student to reveal other trauma to the class nor would I think I am qualified enough to handle what a trained medical professional is better suited for. I want to be the trusted outlet for my students that can find them the resources they need. To create the environment for that trust, I don’t think openly discussing the topic is necessary; this environment is created through positive modeling and the introduction of the idea through the everyday lessons, stories, and books that should already be a part of a thriving classroom. I don’t think this should be limited to sexual violence, but also any trauma,concerns, or stress our students are facing. An example of this would be using the book “Fish in a Tree” in a lesson to open communication with students about vocalizing what they need to succeed in their learning.

  29. Having been a victim of sexual abuse, I think this is a topic that is extremely important to bring to light. Especially since this type of abuse is becoming more and more prominent in today’s world. I feel that in a classroom environment, both male and female students need to feel comfortable enough to speak up to the teacher if something is going on in their life outside of school. As teachers, we are advocates for our students. I feel that it is so important to have a good relationship with your students so that they do feel comfortable enough to share if something is happening to them. You may be their only out of the current abuse that they are suffering.

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