When the #MeToo movement achieved mainstream visibility and global reach last year, the entire team of So to Speak wanted to be a supportive and active part of the campaign. Our goal was to provide a platform for the victims of sexual assault and harassment, something with a little more room than Twitter’s initial 140 characters to continue their stories.
We can honestly say this series surprised us and brought about a number of emotions. We were excited that so many people wanted to share their stories, but at the same time, we were disheartened to know that so many people had stories like these to tell in the first place. But as we read these works of art, they served as a reminder why the #MeToo movement is so important. The So to Speak blog has been privileged to publish poetry and prose, personal essays and open letters, visual art and audio accompaniments, from people who have connected with the #MeToo movement. They have shared their personal experiences and responses to sexual assault and harassment, expressing themselves through art. Our only disappointment is that we were unable to publish the hundreds of individual pieces submitted. Although they may not be listed here today, each voice was heard and each story remembered by the So to Speak team.
As we finish this limited series, we must ask, as our closing piece by Jenny Fan Raj does, now what? The #MeToo movement has maintained its place in mainstream media. It’s latest iteration has highlighted men who are victims and calls to task women accused of harassment and assault. The movement has begun to spotlight abuse in all its forms and industries, an expansion from the focus on Hollywood stars. But while the movement has provided a space for people to share their stories, there is more work to be done. This past year, the focus has been confined to the gender binary, making it difficult for non-binary and transgender people, who are at risk of violence in their everyday lives, to speak their truths. The movement still needs to expand to experiences outside of the white, female, and upper/middle class ones we hear so often and take into account race, sexuality, class, and more. The lack of diverse voices still hangs over the #MeToo movement, but as the movement grows and evolves, it serves as a call-to-action for everyone to be given the chance to share their stories.
Nevertheless, the movement has written itself into our history books. It has reminded us that change does not happen in an instance. When systemic injustices such as sexual assault and rape culture are challenged, they are received with pushback, anger, and ignorance. However, like any movement from our history, change has happened because someone decided enough was enough: Marsha P. Johnson and the Stonewall Riots; Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott; and, of course, Tarana Burke and the #MeToo movement in 2006, with Alyssa Milano and Ashley Judd just last year. They stepped up and made their voices heard, a rallying cry that grew larger and has continued to gain momentum ever since.
It started with them; it continues with us.
As the #MeToo movement grows, as more and more survivors come forward with their stories, So to Speak will continue to support the movement, its intersectional objectives, and its participants.
Here are the 27 published pieces from our completed limited series in response to the #MeToo movement:
- Pallid Mirrors, by Athena Meliar
- I Do Not Have to Tell You This, by Carolina VonKampen
- every time i get harassed, an angel gets out of her car and greets them with a baseball bat, and that angel is me, by Talie Zrihen
- My Scars, by Sarita Hacohen
- Date Rape Actress | How to Be a Woman, by Andrea Rogers
- an open letter read aloud to my sexually-assaulted self while I stare at the floor and shuffle my feet, by Jenn Seager
- When Life Widens Wider, by Sarah Venart
- Carpentry, by Alistair Forrester
- No One Special, by Tammie Wilson
- Show Me a Man, by Ona Wang
- Butterfingers are Revolutionary, by Athena Dixon
- COFFEE WITH MOM, by Megan LeAnne
- To Whom it May Concern, by Carolyn Butcher
- Carrillo, by Gabriela Jimenez-Carrillo
- Action Taken Prior to Referral, by Danielle Holmes
- The Second Week of Teaching First Grade, by Abigail Conklin
- hostile work environment, by Laila Halaby
- grandma’s basement, by Cleopatra Lim
- I’ve had to slap scream and shove my way to NO, by Bonnie Billet
- violation, by Christine M. Hopkins
- The Dry Cleaner of Main Street, by Cindy House
- Museum Girl, by Caralyn Roeper
- Its the Little Things, by Bev Fesharaki
- Grab Her by the Heart, Not the Hula Skirt, by Chelsea Adams
- The Modern Farmer, by Laura Allen
- FAULT(S), by Sam Deges
- #MeToo. Now What? by Jenny Raj
We are thrilled to include these talented artists in our first ever limited series. Each and every one explored their experiences through art, a truly brave act of expression and solidarity. The team at So to Speak thanks them for their contributions. We also want to thank Sarah Batcheller, who as Blog Editor at the time was instrumental in getting the #MeToo limited series off the ground, and Kristen Brida and Alexandria Petrassi, who supported us and all of our contributors during this endeavor. The continued support we receive from our So to Speak family, our readership, and our contributors is instrumental to our mission, and we have nothing but gratitude and a renewed fighting spirit in the wake of this series.
With love and respect,
Allison Tunstall, Blog Editor
Alison Ross, Assistant Blog Editor