“It has everything to do with power and control”: Seattle women share their #MeToo stories

Last autumn, #MeToo flooded many of our social media feeds. First coined by activist Tarana Burke in 2006, the hashtag spurred a deluge of people, predominantly women, to show solidarity with survivors of sexual violence. Women’s stories also began to oust abusers from positions of power and protection – from Hollywood, news studios, and tech to education and the hotels and farming industries.

We’re seeing that in Seattle too — and more local women are coming forward to share their stories.

Nine of them shared their experiences last night at Seattle University at an event hosted in partnership with the Seattle Women’s Commission. They shared stories about harassment, assault, legal battles, racism, faith, youth, and motherhood. Their goal? To let other women know they’re not alone, and to remind the audience that there’s still work to be done to make our communities safe.

One of the speakers was student Haleema Bharoocha, who leads SU’s Gender Justice Center, a student-led organization promoting conversations about intersectional feminism.

“Even though I wear a hijab and am clearly covered, I’ve experienced sexual harassment in all its forms,” she told the crowd. “It has everything to do with power and control.”

Other presenters talked about the importance of uplifting marginalized voices, fighting the “cacophony of self-blame,” and showing up to combat systemic racism.

It was moving, and we feel lucky to have Seattleites who are willing to get vulnerable and share their stories to make our city a better place.

Didn’t get a chance to attend the event? We pre-recorded Haleema and another presenter, Sarah Toce’s, stories. Watch Haleema’s and Sarah’s stories, below.

Have other ideas on how we can continue to support conversations around this topic? Let us know at [email protected].