Home2017-2018Coping with sexual assault on social media

Coping with sexual assault on social media

By Madelyn Jones
Lifestyles Editor

Recently, there have been multiple big conversations surrounding sexual harassment and assault online. The hashtag “#metoo” and comments on the allegations against Harvey Weinstein have taken over timelines on all different social media platforms.

Both of these situations have potential positive and negative effects on the viewers. In the case of #metoo, many people are happy that others have an easily accessible way to see how pervasive of an issue sexual assault and harassment are. At the same time, it can be triggering for survivors or make people feel like they have to tell their story. For Weinstein, it is good that he is no longer getting away with it and is facing consequences, but, it can be hard for survivors to see it talked about everywhere. This is only one example of many other disturbing factors about that situation.

If you do not want to see tweets about these topics, you can mute key words to make sure they do not appear on your timeline. Go to your notifications, click the gear icon and then there will be a “mute” section where you can mute accounts and words.

As for Facebook, I could not find as straight forward of a way. Most places I looked just said to unfollow the person posting about topics you do not want to see, but that does not seem to be relevant to this subject, since the “me too” movement only calls for one post.

For any survivors of sexual abuse that need support, information or want to talk to talk about it to someone who is trained and prepared for the conversation, call (800)656-HOPE (4673) to connect to the National Sexual Assault Hotline. There are many other hotlines that can be found with a quick Google search that specialize in different topics too.

One response from these topics has been men asking how they can be better allies to women. I have been very happy to see this response, but it should not be the job of the oppressed group of people to explain these questions if they do not want to. If you are ready to respond to this question, go for it. It is a way to make women in the center of the conversation.

However, if a woman feels uncomfortable explaining or does not want to, it is okay to tell the asker to self-educate. There are many places online that they can find information, whether that be articles or feminist social media accounts.

 

mgjones@willamette.edu

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