Tweet by tweet, the hashtag reading “Me Too” spreads frequently on Twitter headlines, in hopes to reaching out and spreading awareness of what is occurring in America—women and men opening up about their sexual assault stories that they’ve hidden for so long. The hashtag has come to represent the victims of sexual assault that swept their stories under the rug. Victims that range from celebrities to normal everyday people, are speaking out about their experiences on Twitter. The hashtag is a way to spread consciousness of their sexual abuse stories and make people realize these occurrences happen far more often than people assume.

The creator of the hashtag, Tarana Burke, has been a public advocate for women’s equality for nearly two decades. It all started when she talked to a 13-year-old girl who opened up about her experience with sexual assault. It left her shocked, and she felt the need to make a change. In 2007, Burke created a non-profit organization called “Just Be Inc.” The organization helps victims of sexual harassment and assault. Eventually, she called the movement “Me Too.” Actress Alyssa Milano was the first to promote this movement, and it caught on quickly and has been successful in promoting awareness ever since.

Ever since the hashtag began, women are taking their turn in stepping up to the plate, and revealing the truth about these people in the media. Powerful figures such as journalists Matt Lauer and Mark Halperin, director and screenwriter James Toback, actor and screenwriter Kevin Spacey, and, most recently, chef and television show host Mario Batali. The most highly-accused perpetrator is movie producer Harvey Weinstein, with nearly 60 actresses and models accusing him of assault.

The social media hashtag has been used to prove to women and men that are victims that they are not alone. It is the reason why so many authoritative people have been singled out; however, a lot of victims are hesitant to hand the world their abuse stories on a silver platter.

Sophomore Josephine Morgret understands why some aren’t comfortable to speak out yet.

“It could’ve been a really traumatic experience that had frightened them,” Morgret said. “There are individuals in our society that do that and bring them down by not believing their stories, or telling them hurtful things.”

Even though some victims are not comfortable speaking out, the movement encourages positivity and helps make all of the participants feel welcome and comfortable in their home, work or public environment.

Sophomore Paige Bolton appreciates the movement and notices the positive impact that it is leaving.

“I think it is kind of like a chain reaction,” Bolton said. “Once someone steps up, maybe other people won’t feel alone and help raise attention.”

All in all, the creation of a small hashtag has created an empire of sexual assault victims coming together to support each other.