Alexis Raposa –Anchor Staff
Countless women and men who’ve been victims of sexual violence have used #MeToo as a way to share their stories to bring awareness to the growing rate of sexual violence. But just like with any movement, #MeToo has its own set of vocal criticizers. Some people claim that those using the hashtag are capitalizing on the movement to get attention or that the victim was simply asking for it by wearing provocative clothes. But the most popular criticism of the #MeToo movement is that the victims were simply lying, and that the real victims are the men being falsely accused.
#HimToo is a counter movement against the false accusations of men committing sexual violence. While I don’t disagree entirely with #HimToo, I think it’s important to point out that this movement is based on discrediting the victims of sexual violence rather than bringing justice to false accusations. In fact, based on a study done by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, only about two percent of reported sexual violence cases are deemed false. Two percent is not a big number especially when only about sixty-three percent of sexual violence victims report to the police and even less make it to trial. #HimToo is a movement being used to victimize men instead of focusing on the actual problem.
When discussing sexual violence, we mostly talk about it being a crime against women which is mostly true. About one in three women will be victims of sexual violence, but at the same time one in six men will be victims. Men are more likely to be victims of sexual assault or rape than they are of being falsely accused of committing sexual violence. Likewise, male victims are even less likely to seek medical attention or report these crimes.
We need to normalize the reporting of sexual violence and make it so men, women and non-binary people feel comfortable enlisting the help of law enforcement. Talking about these crimes is the first step of combating rape culture. So while I empathize with the men who are falsely accused of sexual assault or rape, I don’t think #Himtoo should be done in order to silence those who are actual victims.
Both conversations can coexist without speaking over each other; a lesson everyone can learn, especially in today’s political climate.