Happy 2018!! Across the nation, and the world, 2017 was a rough year to be a woman. It has never been more clear that women need to actively champion each other. For 2018, Xoxo, Rosana will be doubling down on its commitment to support women and here is what you can do to do the same.
**CW: Sexual Assault and Harassment** If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
2017 and #MeToo
Although 2017 was a huge year for the unveiling of sexual harassment and assault in industries such as media and tech, the story is too familiar on college campuses. One in four college women are victims of sexual violence, and only 12% of survivors report the assault to the police. We know these statistics too well, in the stories of our friends. The President of the United States was elected after being accused by 19 women of sexual misconduct. #MeToo has been used millions of times in over 85 countries, according to Time Magazine’s feature on The Silence Breakers.
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Tarana Burke (@fortyisthenew40) created the Me Too movement in 2006 to encourage young women to show solidarity with one another. It went viral this year after actor @milano_alyssa used the hashtag #MeToo. “It is powerful, but it’s soft. Me Too can be a conversation starter or it can be the whole conversation.” TIME recognized Burke by naming her one of the Silence Breakers, TIME’s Person of the Year, for speaking out about sexual assault and harassment. Read the full story on TIME.com. Video by @spencerbakalar, @juliamarielull and @dianetsai_ #TIMEPOY
The bravery of these women in coming forward can and should be praised, but there are many who are choosing not to do the same. Women in Hollywood and tech tend to have the financial security to bear the potential consequences of coming forward, and it is important to keep in mind the women who couldn’t afford to do so.
We, as college women, must prepare to transition from an environment in which college administration’s response to sexual assault on campus is to stop recognizing greek organizations to one where the #MeToo movement only scratches the surface of sexual harassment. One of the best ways to tackle this issue is to make a conscious effort to support the women in your life.
4 Things You Can Do to Support Women
Look out for Freshmen. In every organization you’re a part of, there will (hopefully!) be at least one freshman who just joined. Making an effort to take them to coffee and get to know them will both be an awesome way to welcome them to it, and will mean the world to them. The big-little process of sororities is one of the best examples of how creating a relationship with a new member can really change the way they experience an organization.
Watch your Words. Calling women sluts, bitches, or emotional, undermines them, especially when they’re in positions of power. When you use gender biased terms to criticize other women, it perpetuates the mean girls stereotype. You could also take the opportunity to remind the others in your life to do the same. This is especially important to keep in mind when you criticize other women-led groups like other sororities.
Support Each Other in School and in the Job Search. Often women hold the toxic belief that there are only so many spots for women (in a internship program, a conference, etc) too closely. It pits us against each other, seeing others as competitors rather than as your greatest allies. Work with others on your problem sets, show your friends your cover letter, talk about the things you are doing to prepare for your interviews!
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Real Queens fix each other's 👑s. @lindseydayy co-founder of @crwnmag is doing just that. At 3️⃣0️⃣, she launched her quarterly print mag + culturally aware art platform that prides itself on showcasing only NATURAL Black hair. #OTB we spoke with Day about what #CRWN means to her + how she sees her 100% independent + self-funded business growing.✨ Link in bio! 📸@stbeautyband
Listen. It’s easy to forget that arguably the greatest strength of women is the capacity for female friendships to bloom from an hour long coffee date complaining about almost anything. Especially as we are constantly reminded of the number of women who haven’t been able to speak about their experiences, it is crucial to develop relationships where your friends feel comfortable reaching out when they need help with anything. If someone comes to you with something serious, the best you can do is to believe them, ask what you can do to help, and let them tell you. There are a wealth of resources available, like RAINN’s online crisis center.
In an attempt to be more cognizant of how I am supporting the women in my life, in 2018 Xoxo, Rosana is committing to generating female-positive content. To kick off this initiative, I am launching a new series called Ro&Co, where every Monday in January, there will be a new guest post by one of the amazing women I am lucky to have around me.
What are you doing to support the women in your life?
Let me know on Twitter @xoxorosana_blog!