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What the #MeToo Movement Meant, Means, and Will Mean to Us: College Students Perspectives on Sexual Assault

Written by Kelli Schrauth, Cardinal Stritch University ’19

In 2018, we saw a culture shift that happened due to the #MeToo movement. The importance of such a movement is evident on campuses around the country. Unfortunately, college is known for its “hookup culture” or the preference for casual sex over long-term commitment. While this cultural norm has been critiqued for fueling drinking and sexual assault, the explosion of the #MeToo movement and its unprecedented media attention put the topic of rape culture and victim blaming in the spotlight.  America’s college students have been equipped and educated with a clearer understanding and awareness of the once-taboo topic of sexual assault.

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, students at Cardinal Stritch University shared their thoughts on what the #MeToo Movement meant, means, and will mean to them.

“Times are changing, and the voices of women are being heard now more than ever. Women are feeling more empowered to speak upon acts of sexual and domestic violence in order to stand as one demographically. The “me too” movement has sparked monumental conversations and continues to take our world by storm. It has shown survivors of abuse that they are not alone in the trauma they have endured. It has shown the abusers, that we as women, will not stand for the torture they implement on women. It has shown our daughters and future daughters that any act of sexual and domestic violence is warrant enough to be spoken about. For me, the “me too” movement promises hope. It solidifies hopeful safety for my future daughters. It is a constant reassurance that my daughters will always know they have a voice to speak up against acts of cruelty. For me, that’s a win in itself.”

“As a male college student, I think the #MeToo movement is great because it has been evident throughout my time in college that men feel the need to be superior over women. After witnessing this, it is something I completely disagree with, and that is why I find the movement so inspiring. The movement is important because it helped give a voice to these women that maybe didn’t have the courage to speak up as an individual. I also find it amazing that celebrities embraced this movement because it caused it to spread across the world and draw attention to a subject that isn’t easy to talk about.”

“For me, I think it is so important that women are speaking about what has happened to them and finding and using their strength through that, ultimately leading to healing. I have such an admiration for those who have chosen to share their stories.”

“I think the #MeToo movement has been a wonderful platform for individuals to come forward and address sexual assault. I think it has helped allow people to feel more comfortable speaking about their own personal stories. Personally, knowing that there is a movement out there that supports sexual assault survivors makes me feel safe in this world. Knowing people have been fighting for a change is something that is incredible, but more so admirable.”

“So, for me the #MeToo movement is putting out in the open the hidden idea that people can get away with sexual assault. The movement is taking a very serious matter and making it a topic that we not only should but NEED to talk about. This movement will make an impact for my future children, which makes me feel a sense of safety. I want them to know they never need to hide in fear of sexual assault, but rather know that there are people working together to support survivors.”

Because of awareness initiatives and the success of the #MeToo movement, college students have become exposed to a culture in which sexual assault is no longer a shameful secret, and a culture in which it is no longer and never acceptable to blame the victim. This is a serious issue in which we are seeing more and more public figures use their voices to speak up. As a community, we must band together to support those who have spoken and will speak out. Seeing and hearing the impact this movement has made on those around not only the Cardinal Stritch community, but the university setting as a whole is inspiring.