Global “One Billion Rising” Movement Comes to Gettysburg

The Gettysburg College Women's Center (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

The Gettysburg College Women’s Center (Photo courtesy of Gettysburg College)

By Emma Padrick, Staff Writer

It is no secret that the last several months have been marked by celebrities wearing black attire, musical artists wearing white roses, and people from many industries sharing stories of sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of renowned global figures. All of these trends are part of the global #MeToo movement, which has resulted in powerful celebrities, politicians, and medical professionals outed and dethroned as waves of accusations sweep every arena and workplace.

Even the President of the United States has been the subject of 20 allegations of sexual misconduct, and, after numerous reports of sexual harassment by both United States Senators and members of the House of Representatives came to light, both bodies voted to require members and staff to undergo sexual harassment training and legislation is currently under consideration that would overhaul how sexual assault allegations are investigated and handled in Congress.

Although the increase in awareness and action has effectively opened a national conversation on the issue, people are beginning to ask what comes next.

That was one question posited in Thursday’s One Billion Rising event, hosted by Gettysburg College’s Women’s Center.

According to the One Billion Rising foundation’s website, “One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women in human history. The campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.”

Led by the two senior Women’s Center co-coordinators Jenny Enos and Caroline Lewis, Gettysburg’s event featured students participating in a conversation about the #MeToo movement and discussing how the recent onslaught of allegations against powerful figures in the entertainment, medical, and political spheres may develop.

Many in attendance shared personal opinions or experiences of their own with the oppression of women that stems from systemic power differences both here on campus and outside of Gettysburg.

Participants also read and discussed the “Dear Sisters” letter signed and shared by many women in Hollywood, which calls for an end to the normalization of sexual harassment in the form of the phrase “time’s up.”

The letter also acknowledges that the writers have a powerful platform from which to speak, which is not the case for many. Students largely agreed with the letter, expressing concern over those who are unable to speak out against their harassers for fear of losing their jobs or even their status in this country.

One prominent takeaway from the discussion was the importance of continuing to fight harassment and maintaining the momentum of the #MeToo movement.

“I want to be part of a world where women are able to fight back,” said Aisha Royer ’21. “The #MeToo movement is making that happen.”

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Author: Emma Padrick

Emma Padrick '21 writes for The Gettysburgian's features section.

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