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#MeToo Founder Tarana Burke on What’s Next for the Movement

Winning Women

Within 48 hours of #MeToo going viral on social media, around 15 million people had already engaged, sharing their own experiences with sexual harassment. But despite the widespread reach of the movement and hashtag, Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement, wants the focus to be on the people who have been affected by sexual harassment and violence.

More: Our Narrow View of Sexual Assault Is Letting People Get Away With It

“Every one of those hashtags is a human being that has a story that took courage to type their story or even to write the words ‘me too,’ — that people now feel like the world can hear them in a different kind of way,” Burke told SheKnows president Samantha Skey in a recent interview at our New York offices.

A significant component of the #MeToo conversation, Burke explained, is that it has lifted the “veil of shame” to the point where more people are talking about what happened to them. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but right now, she says that the focus is still squarely on the sexual predators, like Harvey Weinstein, rather than the women he attacked and harassed.

More: The Impact of Sexual Harassment on Mental Health

“What do we know even about the women who he attacked? Those women who came forward in Hollywood so bravely and just put their selves on the line not knowing what would happen — they also need resources,” Burke added.

Though #MeToo went viral in October 2017 after actor Alyssa Milano encouraged social media users to share their own stories of sexual harassment, Burke had started the movement 10 years prior.

As for the question on many people’s minds about what’s next for the movement, Burke — who was recently honored with a Voices of the Year Award at our BlogHer Health conference for being an important spark for change — says we’re not done with this aspect of it yet. Before moving on to discussing what’s next, “We have to keep unpacking this,” she explained. “We haven’t really dealt with the full spectrum of gender-based violence. We could have gone through completely different things. If you tell me something and I say, ‘That happened to me too,’ or ‘I understand — yeah, me too,’ there’s a way that I know that I recognize the trauma, but I also recognize the triumph.”

For more, watch our complete interview with Tarana Burke above.

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