In 2006, Tarana Burke started the MeToo movement as a way to create a dialogue and support system for survivors within communities of color. In 2017, the movement went viral. A massive online campaign lead to a groundswell of individuals from every gender, race, and sexuality sharing their stories of survival. Though it’s empowering to see perpetrators being held accountable, it has been re-traumatizing for so many. “f you make something [like this] viral, you have to be prepared to help people deal," Burke said. "You have to give people something else besides the disclosure."
This year has been a whirlwind. However, the movement is not perfect, and we are not perfect. We want to acknowledge the challenges of all this attention, and get back to Burke’s original intention: to start a conversation so that survivors can feel heard, validated, and supported.
To survivors: Awakenings hears you, believes you, and supports you. It is hard enough to survive assault or abuse, let alone an entire year of re-traumatizing public scrutiny. To help you heal, we have events and workshops that span every modality of creative healing that we can think of. Give it a try. But we also want to know: what do you need from us? How can we do better to support you?
To the greater community: We know the epidemic of sexual violence feels insurmountable. But there are ways you can make a difference: by supporting survivors. If you want to have a positive impact on a survivor’s life, come find us. Volunteer, donate, or even share this video. Starting a conversation about sexual assault with one person could make a difference. So start now.
A big thank you to Jean Cozier, Derek Hopkins, Laura Kinter, Kaitlin Lynch, Kate Powers and Allen Vandever.
Director and Editor Paige Benner
Cinematographer Riley Chagniot