The #MeToo campaign has made some male Chapman students more aware of the severity and frequency of sexual assault, and has inspired them to engage in conversation with fellow students, call others out on their actions and join assault awareness groups on campus.
“The #MeToo campaign and getting involved in the Walk Against Violence has made me realize how much exploitation there is against women,” said Tommy Radle, a freshman undeclared student.
Stories of sexual harassment and assault have gained traction since mid-October, when Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of abusing and harassing actresses and female film employees. People then took to social media and wrote “me too” if they had been sexually harassed or assaulted.
Radle believes that powerful people like Weinstein should be held accountable for their actions. Zach Salem, a sophomore communication studies major, said that reading about the allegations against Weinstein made him look at the issue of sexual harassment both externally and internally.
“Externally as in what I can do to be an ally, but internally as in evaluating my own actions,” Salem said.
The #MeToo campaign has given thousands of women the platform to share their experiences with sexual assault and it has also contributed to the national awareness of how prevalent sexual abuse is.
Because of this, it’s important for men to reflect on their behaviors and actions, Salem said.
“Getting involved with C.A.R.E.S (Creating a Rape-free Environment for Students) on campus, but also taking notice of the national #MeToo movement, are great opportunities for men to show that they understand how serious these issues are,” Salem said.
The #MeToo campaign sparked personal conversations with Salem’s female friends who had been sexually harassed, which helped him realize the magnitude of this issue, Salem said.
Rico Corral, a junior business administration major, has had four close friends who have been sexually harassed, he said. But the #MeToo campaign helped him understand the vastness of sexual violence and harassment.
As a result, Corral advocates for survivors by talking to men about sexual harassment, because many believe the topic isn’t as serious, he said.
“I think it’s really important to realize that we need to have these conversations. All people need to expand their knowledge about this hideous problem,” he said.
Senior film production major Daniel Dickinson’s girlfriend was harassed and grabbed inappropriately in front of him last semester, he said. He participated in the Walk Against Violence Nov. 1, an event to expand awareness and education about violence against women, and he also wants to attend Chapman C.A.R.E.S. meetings. He said that the #MeToo campaign has made him reevaluate his judgment for the future.
“I’ve kept it in mind to be more wary of these kinds of situations,” Dickinson said. “If I ever saw something like sexual harassment or assault at one of my parties or at a social gathering, I would have no problem calling that person out or intervening. One of the worst problems surrounding sexual assault is the silent bystander.”