The #MeToo movement is a movement against sexual assault and harassment. The hashtag went viral in 2017 after it was widely used over social media. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault on Thursday, April 26. His convictions included drugging and raping a woman 14 years ago. The fact that Cosby was convicted 14 years after the case is ridiculous. Yes, there were a number of trials regarding one of the victims, Andrea Constand, but this should’ve been solved a lot sooner. #MeToo is so popularized that sometimes I feel people forget that it’s a movement and not just a hashtag.

#MeToo is supposed to empower women and men to fight sexual assault and harassment. One in five women will be raped in their lifetime according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. I understand men are not the only ones who can be sexual abusers, but many of the publicized cases involve men. Besides Cosby, other men who were accused last year were journalist Charlie Rose and producer Harvey Weinstein. These men, however, and male predators in general, automatically think they can be forgiven for their wrongdoings. Charlie Rose wants to make a comeback on television. Weinstein believes that Hollywood will forgive him. Predators thinking they could do this promotes their behavior as okay when it’s not. This goes back to people popularizing the movement in the wrong way. We need to repopularize #MeToo’s original meaning: “to reframe and expand the global conversation around sexual violence to speak to the needs of a broader spectrum of survivors,” according to the Me Too website. As women, we cannot just throw the hashtag out and slap it on random Twitter or Instagram posts. We need to take pride in the belief that no one should be easily be forgiven for their disgusting actions.

This attitude needs to be spread more around campus. We do, of course, watch the Tea Consent video during orientation. We also have a number of people to always talk to at the Center for Prevention and Outreach about rape and sexual assault. One program we have to promote sexual abuse prevention is Green Dot. Green Dot is a four-hour long program where students learn techniques on how to prevent rape and sexual assault. The program, however, is not mandatory for students. As an Undergraduate Fellow, I had to attend two of four of the following programs: Red Watch Band, Green Dot, One Love or Safe Space Foundation. If the university has not attempted or planned to attempt this, Green Dot should be mandatory for all students or more students should be encouraged to attend the program.

I didn’t attend Green Dot because it was extremely long while Red Watch Band and One Love were each an hour and a half to two hours long. Green Dot may have the most important message of the programs, especially because it promotes the idea behind the #MeToo movement to Stony Brook students. I regret not attending the program and will definitely attend it in the future.

If Green Dot was in any way shorter, more students would attend. Another way to get more students to attend would be to make it mandatory. Every Stony Brook student already must complete the Haven online program to educate students on how to prevent sexual abuse. Why not make Green Dot mandatory as well?

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If Stony Brook made a class similar to Green Dot, the university would be able to spread more information about the #MeToo movement. The #MeToo should be featured in the title to attract more students and activists of the movement. Providing a #MeToo education course with information about the history behind the movement and why college students, specifically, should care about it would be beneficial. This way, everyone can understand why not only women should be promoting the movement.

I am a woman who believes and emphasizes the #MeToo movement. I don’t laugh when people joke about rape or assault because those jokes objectify women. The number of sexual assaults will not be reduced unless we actively promote #MeToo. Don’t just put #MeToo in a tweet or photo because it “sounds” important. Attend a Green Dot event next semester and get educated.

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