When I first started writing this article, #MeToo was part of a movement that I was really passionate about. Then it happened to me, and the movement suddenly became personal. I had been glued to my screen watching millions of brave women (and men) come forward with their stories, but never expecting to be one of them. Never expecting to get hurt by one of my best friends. 

The #MeToo hashtag, designed to show how widespread sexual violence is, has been massively successful in giving a safe space for survivors to come forward with their experiences and stand in solidarity. The number of people who have been affected by these issues was totally and completely mind-blowing for me until it struck close to home and made me realize how unimmune I actually was.

However, something I found reflected in my own experience was how little people who were not victims talked about it. Whether inadvertently or not, the victims became the ones who were most responsible for raising awareness. This is where the #HimThough hashtag comes in; asking the question "What about him, though?", "What about his actions?", and in the process asking men to take responsibility for the conversation as well.

Where did #HimThough Come From?

#HimThough was created by Liz Plank, an absolute #girlboss of a woman and journalist who I had been following on social media for a while but whose ideas started to ring eerily true after I realized how little the men in my life talked about sexual assault and harassment.

It felt like because women are so often the victims, we become the ones who have to talk about it and raise awareness about it, despite being just half of the interaction and not even being the ones who most often carry out harassment and assault. The more I read about #HimThough , the more I thought back to all of the times my friends and I had talked about protecting ourselves and horror stories of people we knew, but how shocked our guy friends were to hear about any of them, even getting defensive when we brought it up.

So Why Is It So Important?

As a girl growing up, I was painfully aware of how quickly something could go wrong, of how a smile that was deemed extra friendly could be misinterpreted, or of how dangerous getting too drunk could be. But almost none of the boys that I knew had ever been warned about the harm they could cause by making off-side comments to women, or getting too drunk and making a decision for someone else that was never theirs to make, or not saying something when they see their friend doing something they know is wrong. They were so unaware of all the little things that snowballed into me, and so many others, getting hurt. 

At a certain point of stories exactly like mine being told over and over again, it seems like maybe we should be talking to boys about not assaulting someone instead of telling the 1 in 5 college-aged girls who are assaulted every year not to get assaulted. 

It's important to mention at this point that men can also be victims and the stigma that is built around that. It's also important to mention that women can be perpetrators too and the disbelief that their victims have to deal with. However, #HimThough focuses on men because in 96% of all incidences of sexual violence on both men and women, the perpetrators are male. If this stat isn't enough to show that sexual violence isn't just a 'woman's issue', I'm not sure what will be. 

I think that it is unbelievably important to make space for victims to tell their stories, but I think that we need to expand the circle of voices in the conversation. I wish instead of asking victims what they did to possibly deserve this, we asked what about #HimThough? Or better yet, for people who are not the victims to ask themselves "what about me and my actions, though?" 

If you have experienced sexual violence or know someone who has and are looking for help, know that you are not alone or unsupported. You can also access resources on most campuses and in most cities, as well as organizations like RAINN, NSVRC, and EROC who all have 24/7 hotlines.