NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - For over a decade, women’s rights activist Tarana Burke has been using the phrase “Me Too” to bring light to sexual abuse faced by women of color.
Burke had been using the phrase years before Twitter and before the concept of hashtags, and instead the term was passed around on MySpace.
A decade later, Burke was named one of the “silence breakers” highlighted in Time Magazine’s 2017 Person(s) of the Year for advocating for victims of sexual abuse.
Now she’s coming to Rutgers University to speak about the #MeToo movement, which has inspired thousands of victims of sexual harassment and abuse to go public with their stories.
The #MeToo hashtag gained steam in October 2017 when actress Alyssa Milano, looking to shed light on the ubiquity of sexual abuse, urged more victims to come forward.
“If all the women who have been sexual harassed or assault wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” Milano tweeted.
Her hashtag went viral once now-former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of multiple sexual abuse allegations.
Dozens of other high-profile men have since been accused of sexual abuse and either stepped down from their positions of influence, criminally charged or convicted.
Burke will visit Rutgers as part of the university’s month of events for Black History Month. Her event is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 12 at the College Avenue Gym and is open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m., student performances start 7:30 p.m. and Burke will speak at 8 p.m.
Rutgers University previously brought in former Vice President Joe Biden in Oct. 2017 as part of the “It’s On Us” campaign to raise awareness of sexual violence on college campuses.