“Coming up on this anniversary, I’ve had so many invitations to come and speak, and the topic is, ‘Is there a way back for these men after the #MeToo movement? What’s the road to redemption?’” the Me Too founder told Teen Vogue in an interview published Tuesday. “And I’m just like, you know what? Stop asking me these questions. It’s so offensive.”
Burke, who created the Me Too movement in 2007, reflected on how the campaign has grown exponentially since it went viral two years ago this month. Actor Alyssa Milano tweeted the hashtag #MeToo two years ago, asking her followers to share their stories of sexual violence. The movement has revealed rampant abuse by powerful men including Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Kevin Spacey.
And while it’s important to unearth abuses that have been hidden for so long, Burke told Teen Vogue that the movement was meant to center survivors, not perpetrators.
“Often when I talk, I do a pop quiz for people and I say, ‘You know, we can right now popcorn at least 10 names of the most prominent men who’ve been accused or what have you, and you couldn’t name 10 survivors from there,’” she said.
“It‘s such a problem, that we can have a movement that has really been built on the backs of survivors and not check in on those survivors,” Burke continued. “Yes, it would have been a celebrity story, because Weinstein was a huge story, and it would have continued to be a huge story. But this sustained conversation, this phenomenon came from 19 million individual people having the courage to say ‘me too.’”
She added that it’s “inhumane” that the cultural conversation continually centers perpetrators over survivors.
“You cannot forget these people. You cannot forget us. You cannot forget people who have the courage,” she said. “I don’t care if you volunteered for an expose, or you literally just put #MeToo on your Facebook page. There is courage in that.”
Head over to Teen Vogue to read Burke’s full interview.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.