sexual violence

Healing survivors, communities at heart of Me Too’s work, founder Tarana Burke tells BGSU audience

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Tarana Burke doesn’t want to be a celebrity. She doesn’t want to be the face of the Me Too movement five years from now. Looking out at the audience that packed the ballroom in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, she said she wanted someone young, with fresh energy and better ideas, some “bright unicorn,” to step up and lead.  Maybe that person will be the young aspiring social worker, whom she’d met earlier in the day during her visit to Bowling Green State University. Burke, who launched Me Too in 2006 to combat sexual violence by supporting survivors and building a community of advocates, spoke at BGSU as part of the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories series hosted by the University Libraries.  Tarana Burke greets Toni Gordon, assistant director in the BGSU Office of Multicultural Affairs. Burke took the name of the series to heart. “This is a movement made up of every day people, ordinary people, who can do extraordinary things. I hope I’m proof of that and, if not, I’m trying to be.” But she doesn’t want to toasted and honored. “Don’t celebrate me if you’re not going to stand up for what I believe in,” Burke said. “I have no use for celebrities.” In one 24-hour period back in October, 15 million people used the hashtag #metoo. Those hashtags are people, people raising their hands to be heard. Most still have their hands up, said Burke, who is herself a survivor of sexual violence she suffered as a 6-year-old.  Unlike Black Lives Matter, which was responding to images of people being shot and choked in the street, Me Too survivors are not as visible. “We don’t have that sense of urgency because people can’t see our wounds,” she said. “They don’t realize what it is to be a survivor, to hold this deadness inside of us, looking for a place to put it. We’re literally the walking wounded. “Those millions of people who raised their hands still are counting on us. Hell, they are us. We have to have urgency in this moment because I don’t know how long it will last.” People need to take action. For some that will be working in a rape crisis center,…

Read More