#MeToo: Tik Tok encourages users to paint the pain

Senior+Claire+Isbell+shares+her+story+about+her+sexual+assault+that+took+place+in+the+summer+of+2019+and+encourages+women+to+support+other+women.

Claire Isbell

Senior Claire Isbell shares her story about her sexual assault that took place in the summer of 2019 and encourages women to support other women.

Cecilia Zavala, Overflow Section Editor

Every nine minutes Child Protective Services (CPS) finds evidence for a claim of sexual assault. Females are four times more likely to be the victims of sexual abuse and rape, making 82 percent of all victims female.

The #MeToo movement is aimed at helping young women and girls who fall victim to all forms of sexual assault. Founded in 2006 by Tarana Burker, the movement’s motive and goals include providing resources and support to millions of women around the world.

One of the most prominent uses of the #MeToo movement came from multiple women from the United States Gymnastics Team. They accused former Dr. Larry Nassar of sexually abusing more than 160 women. 

Despite being sentenced to 40-125 years in prison, many victims and their families still don’t feel like Nassar recognizes the pain he brought into their lives. Even the judge of Nassar’s case, Janice Cunningham, had a hard time believing anything he said. “I am not convinced that you truly understand that what you did was wrong and the devastating impact you’ve had on the victims, family and friends,” she said.

But the #MeToo movement continues on. Recently on the popular dancing and lip-syncing app Tik Tok, users have been sharing their sexual assault experiences with others. The trend includes some users putting paint on their hands and touching the parts of their body that were violated. 

Other users talked about their experience with the police and how they went through physical changes to get rid of their attacker. One of the most surprising Tik Toks during this movement was one posted by rising star Loren Gray. 

Gray posted her Tik Tok stating that she wanted her fans to really know her. She shared that just before her thirteenth birthday she was violated in the basement of someone she trusted. She continued on saying her friends were her major support system during this time. 

One of Pleasant Valley’s own knows a lot about this topic and wants to share her experience.

Senior Claire Isbell was sexually assaulted during the summer of 2019. “Before the experience I felt completely normal. I didn’t expect anything to happen, so it was a normal night for me,” said Isbell. “During, I felt powerless and terrified…I try to forget about it. After it happened, I felt ashamed and scared.”

It can be very hard for victims of sexual assault to share what happened to them to parents, friends and local authority. Isbell admits it was hard for her to talk about what happened. “It was hard to talk about because I felt like it was my fault for so long and I couldn’t understand that it wasn’t,” stated Isbell. 

Isbell has seen the trend on Tik Tok and even admitted she almost made one because of the power behind sharing experiences like these. When Isbell saw Gray’s video, she appreciated the fact that even influencers were willing to talk about it. “It’s very important to bring awareness to this stuff. I think it’s important for influencers to share their experiences because it lets people like me know that we’re not alone,” commented Isbell. 

There is a long-standing stigma against women claiming they have been sexually assaulted with reasons ranging from profit, fame or attention. “For so long girls and women were told it’s their fault because of what they wear, how they look or what their bodies look like,” said Isbell. “In my experience I was told, ‘if you tell anyone I’ll kill you.’ It’s a scary feeling knowing someone hurt you like this once and they’d do it again.”

One thing that sexual assault cases bring is support from other women. Having a good support system is something very important to have when going through things as traumatic as sexual assault. “When women support other women, it lets you know you’re not alone. It helps you understand people know what you’re going through,” said Isbell. 

Senior Kaitlyn Morgan is planning on studying criminal justice next year. She feels there should be more resources at Pleasant Valley for women and girls who have gone through these experiences. “I don’t think people would go to a counselor or to someone in the administration unless they have a good relationship with them and because it has to be reported,” stated Morgan. 

Most people watch Tik Toks that involve dancing, lip-syncing or funny conversations. Recently, the #MeToo movement has gained popularity on a new platform. Tik Tok is offering a safe space for users to share their darkest memories.

While users are painting the pain of their past, Isbell is glad the #MeToo movement is still offering a place of support. She is looking forward to continuing her future and is thankful for the support system of close friends and family that have guided her.