From her point of view: The #MeToo Movement

Skirt! strives to be a voice for women, amplify their voices and encourage conversations about issues affecting women. We highlight what women across the country are saying about the #MeToo movement and asked local female leaders to share their thoughts.

This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries. Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don’t even seem to know that boundaries exist. They’ve had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can’t afford to lose. They’ve had it with the code of going along to get along. They’ve had it with men who use their power to take what they want from women. These silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day. …”
– Time magazine, in an article naming The Silence Breakers as the person of the year for 2017

The point of the work we’ve done over the last decade with the ‘me too movement’ is to let women, particularly young women of color, know that they are not alone – it’s a movement. It’s beyond a hashtag. It’s the start of a larger conversation and a movement for radical community healing. Join us.” #MeToo
– Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, in Twitter post on Oct. 15

“We are at last confronting the fact that by staying quiet, we protect an unequal, immoral status quo. By raising our voices, we protect each other. Each woman who speaks up about her own experience is making it easier for other women to do the same. And because of the strength in our numbers, the institutions that have enabled systemic sexism and discrimination are starting to act — to fire, to expel, to ostracize, to pass laws. To change.”
– Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in Time magazine on Nov. 20

“This is a critical moment for anyone who faces unwanted sexual advances at work. Sexual harassment has been tolerated for far too long in the halls of government and companies large and small. For the first time in my professional life, it feels like people are finally prepared to hold perpetrators responsible. I’m cheering – both as my current self and as that younger self who jumped up to bolt the lock on a hotel room door. … But cheering is not enough. And while this is no doubt a watershed moment in empowering victims to speak up, sharing stories – which takes immense courage by itself – is also not enough. We need systemic, lasting changes that deter bad behavior and protect everyone, from professionals climbing the corporate ladder to workers in low-paid positions who often have little power. We need to end the abuse of power imbalances due to gender – and race and ethnicity, too. We must not lose this opportunity.”
– Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, on Facebook post on Dec. 3

“One voice. One impassioned plea to be heard and believed. One champion who stands up and declares that it ends here, it ends today. That is all it takes to ignite a revolution. To all the women who are giving voice to their truths, and to those who may never be ready to speak out, the Center for Women hears you, believes you and stands with you. We thank you for your courage.”
– Lisa Dabney, executive director, Center for Women

“Time’s decision and this broader moment/movement is indicative of what feminists already know: Women will never be seen or treated as equals until our bodies are no longer objectified and controlled by those to whom we have not consented. This level of sustained attention to the harassment and victimization of women in the workplace is needed for enduring social change to take hold. But, in the glory and glitz of this moment, we must not lose sight of the millions of women who simply will not report, cannot come forward, or have too much to lose in declaring “me, too.” Those of us who can, have the responsibility to seek justice for ALL targets of ALL oppressions.”
– Kris De Welde, director of women’s and gender studies, College of Charleston

“It saddens me that for so long, women have felt safer being silent while being victimized and unsupported when speaking out. If what a society values can be measured by what and whom it protects we are well overdue for demonstrating a real value for the life and safety of women. This is our time to support our sisters and define and demand justice for all women.”
– LaVanda Brown, executive director, YWCA of Greater Charleston

“Bravo to the recent “Silence Breakers,” who’ve bravely challenged the norm and thus paved the way for others to come forward and speak their truths. This declaration of freedom from oppression has given a voice to womankind and is a HUGE moment in history for women!  After all, as Ranata Suzuki said, ‘There comes a point where you no longer care if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You’re just sick of the tunnel.’”
– Mackie Moore, executive director, Thrive SC

“I am pleased but cautious about the current torrent of sexual harassment/abuse information flooding the media. I am pleased that women and men are empowered to speak out (please know men are also victims of sexual harassment and abuse), but cautious that the public may become weary of the topic and stop paying attention. The reality is that sexual harassment and violence are pervasive in our society, and it is rare to meet a woman who hasn’t experienced it in some fashion.”
– Lisa Van Bergen, principal, Professional Nonprofit Solutions; former executive director, Florence Crittenton Programs

“It does seem an important moment is here. Most of the women my age have stories to tell, but it is not limited to us. Young women seem to be facing many of the same issues. I’m stunned by the guilt and shame so many women have expressed. Yet I don’t want to see the real abuse trivialized by those who feel flirtation is abusive, because I have always been a flirt. We are just beginning to talk about these things, and I hope the dialog continues.”
– Nathalie Dupree, author and advocate, who started a private #MeToo Facebook page