Friday , May 7 2021

MeToo founder Tarana Burke: The campaign is now "unrecognizable"

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Maria Aufmut / TED

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Tarana Burke told TEDWomen conference MeToo had a long way

The founder of the MeToo movement said the campaign against sexual violence that began more than a decade ago became "unrecognizable" for her.

Speaking at TEDWomen in Palm Springs, Tarana Burke said the media's attitude framed the movement as a witch hunt.

"Suddenly, the movement to center the survivors of sexual violence is spoken of as a frightening plot against men," she said.

"Victims are heard and then justified."

She wanted to return to the original intention she had for MeToo when, in 2006, she wrote the words on a piece of paper as a way to start an action plan to do something about the sexual violence she had seen in her community.

The phrase has become last year's hashtag used globally, following charges against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, but Ms. Burke says she feels the campaign neglects those set up to help.

"My vision of the Me Too movement is part of a collective vision to see a world without sexual violence," she told delegates at the TED conference (technology, entertainment and design).

"This is a movement for one of four girls and one in six boys who are sexually abused every year, and who carry these wounds into adulthood," she says.

Ms Burke said that in connection with events like Brett Cavano were elected to the Supreme Court despite facing allegations of sexual abuse – which he denied – it seemed that US politicians "were moving away from this issue".

"This movement is called a milestone, but for several days I wake up feeling that all the evidence suggests the opposite," she said.

She interrupted her conversation with a plea that victims should not be forced to survive their traumas by talking about them, and she called for a continuation of the fight against "power and privilege."

"We need to educate ourselves and our children to understand that power and privilege do not always have to be destroyed and taken over – can be used to serve and build," she said.

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