Journalist SHERELE MOODY explains it's important to take the time to read the stories behind the 'Me, too' status trend.
IF you see "me, too" in your social media feed, please don't scroll past.
Please understand that the woman making that post is telling you something heartbreaking.
She is telling you something devastating.
She is telling you something exceptionally normal.
She is telling you that she has experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence.
She is not telling you this for attention.
She is telling you this because it is a memory that she cannot erase and she wants you to know that her life is permanently scarred.
Why is she sharing these two simple words?
Because on Sunday - in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sex assault scandal - American actor Alyssa Milano asked women to share the status #metoo if they had experienced sexual violence or harassment.
The aim, she says, is to show the world how widespread abuse of women and girls.
If a woman you know shares this status, please know she is not doing this to make you uncomfortable.
She is not doing it for attention.
She is sharing it because she is sick of sexual predators getting away with harassment and abuse.
She is sick of living in a world where male harassment of women is normal and rape culture permeates our television shows, books, movies, music and our social media feeds.
She is sick of society telling her she deserved to be violated because her skirt was too short, her top was too tight, her breasts were too exposed, she went out after dark, she led him on, she was drunk, she was stoned, she was sexy, she should consider it a compliment, she didn't scream, she didn't fight back, he's not like that, she made it all up.
She is sick of the memories.
She is sick of the fear.
She is sick of not being believed.
She is sick of being judged.
Yes, you will see thousands of "me, too" status updates in the coming days.
And that is the sad, sad thing.
Sexual abuse is not rare. With one in five Australian women assaulted or raped, chances are a woman you know is a survivor.
And in many cases, as women, we will have been harassed and/or abused more than once.
And it will have started when we were little girls.
#Metoo (More times than I care to remember. More times than I can forget).
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
News Corp journalist Sherele Moody is the recipient of 2017 Clarion and Walkley Our Watch journalism excellence awards for her coverage of domestic violence issues. She is also the founder of The RED HEART Campaign which advocates to end violence against women and children.
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