About

History & Vision

The ‘me too.’ movement was founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing. Our vision from the beginning was to address both the dearth in resources for survivors of sexual violence and to build a community of advocates, driven by survivors, who will be at the forefront of creating solutions to interrupt sexual violence in their communities.

In less than six months, because of the viral #metoo hashtag, a vital conversation about sexual violence has been thrust into the national dialogue. What started as local grassroots work has expanded to reach a global community of survivors from all walks of life and helped to de-stigmatize the act of surviving by highlighting the breadth and impact of a sexual violence worldwide.

Our work continues to focus on helping those who need it to find entry points for individual healing and galvanizing a broad base of survivors to disrupt the systems that allow for the global proliferation of sexual violence.

Our goal is also to reframe and expand the global conversation around sexual violence to speak to the needs of a broader spectrum of survivors. Young people, queer, trans, and disabled folks, Black women and girls, and all communities of color. We want perpetrators to be held accountable and we want strategies implemented to sustain long term, systemic change.

How We Do the Work: Supporting Survivor Healing and Community-Based Action to Interrupt Sexual Violence

The ‘me too’ movement supports survivors of sexual violence and their allies by connecting survivors to resources, offering community organizing resources, pursuing a ‘me too’ policy platform, and gathering sexual violence researchers and research. ‘Me Too’ movement work is a blend of grassroots organizing to interrupt sexual violence and digital community building to connect survivors to resources.

As the ‘me too’ movement affirms empowerment through empathy and community-based action, the work is survivor-led and specific to the needs of different communities.

Tarana Burke began ‘me too’ with young Black women and girls from low wealth communities. She developed culturally-informed curriculum to discuss sexual violence within the Black community and in society at large. Similarly, the ‘me too’ movement seeks to support folks working within their communities to attend to the specific needs of their community/communities, i.e. supporting disabled trans survivors of color working to lead and craft events/toolkits/etc. with other disabled trans survivors. Together, we can uplift and support each other to strengthen a global movement to interrupt sexual violence.

The Inception

The ‘me too’ Movement™ started in the deepest, darkest place in my soul.

As a youth worker, dealing predominately with Black children and children of color, I had seen and heard my share of heartbreaking stories—from broken homes to abusive or neglectful parents—when I met Heaven.

During an all-girl bonding session at our youth camp, several of the girls in the room shared intimate stories about their lives. Some were the tales of normal teenage angst, but others were quite painful. Just as I had done so many times before, I sat and listened to the stories, and comforted the girls as needed. When it was over, the adults advised the young women to reach out to us if they ever needed to talk or if they needed something else—and then we went our separate ways.

The next day, Heaven—who had been in the previous night’s session—asked to speak with me privately. Heaven was a sweet-faced little girl who clung to me throughout the camp. However, her hyperactive and often anger-filled behavior betrayed both her name and light, high-pitched voice and I was frequently pulling her out of some type of situation.

As she attempted to talk to me that day, the look in her eyes let me know that this conversation would be different. She had a deep sadness and a yearning for confession that I read immediately and I wanted no part of it.

Finally, later in the day she caught up with me and almost begged me to listen. I reluctantly conceded, and for the next several minutes this child, Heaven, struggled to tell me about her “stepdaddy”—rather, her mother’s boyfriend—who was doing all sorts of monstrous things to her developing body. I was horrified by her words, and the emotions welling inside of me ran the gamut.

I listened until I literally could not take it anymore-/which turned out to be less than 5 minutes. Then, right in the middle of her sharing her pain with me, I cut her off and immediately directed her to another female counselor who could “help her better.”

I will never forget the look on her face.

I will never forget the look on her face because it haunts me. I think about her all of the time. The shock of being rejected, the pain of opening a wound only to have it abruptly forced closed again – it was all on her face. As much as I love children, as much as I cared about that child, I could not find the courage that she had found.

As much as I loved her, I could not muster the energy to tell her that I understood, that I connected, that I could feel her pain. I couldn’t help her release her shame, or impress upon her that nothing that happened to her was her fault. I could not find the strength to say out loud the words that were ringing in my head over and over again as she tried to tell me what she had endured.

I watched her walk away from me as she tried to recapture her secrets and tuck them back into their hiding place. I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper…me too.

– Tarana Burke
Founder, The ‘me too.’ Movement