|Alice Park, News Editor
The #metoo movement went viral in October over social media, and provided a powerful platform for victims to share their stories. A month later, sexual harassment and assault are still major problems and everyone, not only victims, has been affected.
Actress Alyssa Milano, who amplified the #metoo movement, said on Good Morning America,
“It’s nice to see something that deserves attention to get attention, finally,” said Christine Kim, junior.
Although sexual harassment and assault have been major problems throughout generations, people have become more aware of its universalness through the Me Too movement.
“It’s really great to know that a lot of people out there are creating awareness by posting their #metoo stories,” Mrs. Lozano agreed, “there was this sense of commodity that you’re [victims are] not alone, but then there’s also a sense of sadness that at the same time, this many people have experienced sexual assault.”
As the urgentness of the problem of sexual harassment and assault was put into the spotlight, the movement left an irreplaceable mark on the community as well.
Mrs. Lozano also described it as a “major epidemic” and a “relevant topic”.
When asked about the root of such harassment and assault, she stated “It’s not just one society, it’s not just one culture, it’s not just one gender. Harassment can look very big or look very small, and it’s things that we don’t even know.”
“Media has a huge role in this and we struggle sometimes to separate reality from the TV shows.”
Some movies and shows portray sexual harassment and assault in ways that makes it look natural and acceptable in the society. Because of this media influence, some are not mindful of the seriousness of the issue.
“It can start with locker room talk, which is an idea that boys are talking about girls in the locker room in inappropriate ways but nobody wants to hear it; but females do that too,” Mrs. Lozano explained.
Tivan added, “Sexual harassment can be catcalling or just minor things like that. Those are experienced by anyone but people don’t think it’s that serious, like it can be playful. And I think that’s where the whole thing starts.”
Through the shocking public stories of victims, the community got a chance to put themselves in victims’ shoes.
“I think especially in the eastern countries, you get labeled after you are identified as someone who got sexually assaulted,” said Mrs. Alex Park.
“Although you are a victim, people don’t really look at you as a victim. I mean they do, but not in a pitiful way, or ‘I’m sorry’ kind of way, but ‘you are that person, you’re not pure anymore.”
They also tried to understand why most victims do not openly come out about their experience.
“Society, they want to bring you down, tear you down, having one sexual harassment case can be a big flaw,” said Joseph Oh, sophomore.
In addition to spreading awareness about sexual harassment and assault, the movement called the community to action.
“We are here as educators to help make others aware of issues and things going on,” said Dr. Dellos.
“I think we can be a platform to inform others, make others aware, and also have at least several hundred of people that understand the seriousness of the issue, which I think is a benefit even if it’s relatively small. At least it’s a place to start,” he explained.
Anyone, whether they have been directly impacted by sexual harassment and assault or not, can learn from the movement.
“The #metoo movement extends beyond sexual harassment and sexual assault, I think it can move into harassment in general,” Mrs. Lozano added, “that’s not to downplay sexual harassment and the Me Too movement, but I think a bigger epidemic in the school culture and in all school cultures in Korea is bullying, and bullying is a form of harassment.”
Everyone can take something away from this movement and reflect on their everyday actions and words. Although some words may seem like they have no meaning, they may impact others greatly.
“We read in the Bible that the tongue is a powerful weapon. It’s the most powerful weapon because it has the power to hurt and injure somebody,” Mrs. Lozano challenged, “So what are we saying in our words? How are we treating each other behind closed doors, and then how are we treating each other in public?”
Sexual harassment and assault may seem like such “foreign concepts” to this community, but the Me Too movement shows how anyone can deal with harassment in any form.
“You have to speak out about those problems and you have talk about those problems and you have to report these things and address these things because harassment regardless of where it is coming from, is not right. And it’s not okay and it doesn’t have to be tolerated, it shouldn’t be tolerated.”