As I took each of the staff members pictures declaring NO MORE Child Sexual Abuse, NO MORE Intimate Partner Homicide, NO MORE Campus Sexual Assault, etc., I reflected on social media’s capacity to educate and share stories of survivors. Last year, we saw the #MeToo movement come across our screens and give voices to actresses and celebrities who experienced sexual harassment or assault in their work and personal lives. This elevated the discussion of sexual harassment in the work place and expanded the conversation to everyday women and men experiencing abuse in our own communities. Because of the tidal wave like-momentum of the #MeToo movement, businesses around the country fired or cut ties with influential men accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Powerful men like Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer and many others were held responsible for their alleged actions. All of this was made possible by the courage of survivors telling their stories, standing together, and supporting one-another, using something as simple as a hashtag.
We are 3 months into 2018 and about to enter Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. As Hopeful Horizons gear up for events, a new social media campaign, awareness projects, and our annual fundraiser, we hope that you will join us in spreading awareness of child abuse and sexual assault. The first way you can help us is by joining us on April 6th at Jarvis Creek Park in Hilton Head at 6pm or on April 27th at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park at 6pm for one of our annual Take Back the Night awareness events. Like the #MeToo movement giving survivors across the country a platform to tell their story, Take Back the Night is our community’s way of giving local survivors a platform for their stories. It takes immense bravery to tell your story of abuse and we need as many people as possible to come affirm that our community believes and supports them. The second way you can help is use your personal social media networks to help us raise awareness. If you don’t already, please follow us on all our social media: Facebook (@hopefulhorizons.org), Twitter (@LowcountryHH), and Instagram (@hopefulhorizons). Because of people like you liking, commenting, and sharing our posts during NO MORE Week 2018, we were able to reach over 10,000 people on Facebook. That is 10,000 chances to reach a victim of child abuse, domestic violence or sexual assault, and get them connected with the life-saving services provided by Hopeful Horizons. The more people are engaged with our posts (likes, shares, comments), the more people the post reaches in their social media networks. If we could reach over 10,000 people in one week, imagine what we could do in a month. We have already seen that social media can be an impactful force of change for our country through the #MeToo movement. Let’s use social media to make that kind of change right here in the Lowcountry!