Social media responds to #MeToo with #IBelieveYou

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Jason Vail Cruz is the sexual assault services coordinator for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. He says the sheer volume of people sharing their stories publicly is encouraging. But it’s just a starting point. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jason Vail Cruz is the sexual assault services coordinator for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. He says the sheer volume of people sharing their stories publicly is encouraging. But it’s just a starting point. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Both hashtags were trending on Twitter Monday in response to the many sexual assault allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. 

The Me Too campaign started with a post from actress Alyssa Milano on Sunday who urged victims of sexual assault or harassment to use the hashtag. It blew up by Monday and many posts included very personal, disturbing stories.

“I had a bf who proceeded to have sex with me after he had just verbally insulted me & I was crying w/tears on my face the whole time. #metoo,” wrote one woman. 

Jason Vail Cruz is the sexual assault services coordinator for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. He says the sheer volume of people sharing their stories publicly is encouraging. But it’s just a starting point.

 “That takes a lot of guts. Particularly, living in our society where often times these victims are discounted. They’re not believed. They are sometimes even blamed for something that’s happened to them,” he said.

One of the next steps he believes we must take is to believe people who say they’ve been assaulted. And by the response on Twitter, it’s clear that doesn’t always happen.

“I was 13…he was a family member…I was not the only one…I told right away…nothing was done and it kept happening to others #MeToo” one woman tweeted.

“It started when I was twelve years old. It’s been seven years. My Abuser was not punished for what he’s done. He’s still home. #MeToo,” wrote another.

“We want to make sure that whenever someone comes forward with a story about sexual assault, that we start by believing. The greater, more positive response that people have when they do report, the more likely they are to heal faster, the more likely perpetrators are to be brought to justice,” said Vail Cruz.

Many on Twitter responded to some of the #MeToo posts with #IBelieveYou, a show of solidarity for survivors of sexual assault.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, 60 percent of rapes and sexual assaults aren’t reported. Ninety-seven percent of rapists never spend a day in jail. Vail Cruz believes change will be cultural.

“We really need to start early. We need to start culture change in a very consistent and wide-ranging manner. Starting with the way we are socializing kids about sex and sexual assault.”

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