Out in the Open

'Everybody you care about has been harmed and touched by this': The impact of #MeToo

Farrah Khan has spent the last 17 years working to raise awareness of gender-based violence, but it doesn’t mean that seeing #MeToo unfold has always been easy. Still, she thinks it is an important part of helping women feel included in the feminist movement today.
Farrah Khan (Courtesy of Farrah Khan )

Farrah Khan has called herself a feminist since she was 12-years-old.

It made her feel safe in her body when she was a child dealing with sexual abuse.

"When I heard about feminism as a kid it was an opening, it was this idea that something else could exist. That justice could exist. And so, at the age of 12… I came out as a feminist. And I remember talking about it and it was something that helped me feel safe in my body and know that there were women fighting for my rights."

To Khan, the #MeToo movement is playing an important role in making sure that different groups of women feel included in the feminist movement today.

"I think, for some folks, that is what they can do. You know, not everybody wants to do the counselling work. Not everybody wants to do the policy work. People can help in lots of different ways. So maybe it is someone saying 'you know what, I'm not alone, and I can say #MeToo...'"

Khan says that these conversations are important to have because they help people to break out of shame.

That's why she believes the #MeToo movement is far more than 'hashtag activism'.

"It is so important any time that these conversations happen for people to break out of shame. Because that's what abuse does. It makes us feel like we are the shameful ones when it happens to us. And the thing to remember is it happens to us. We didn't choose for it to happen to us."

Khan does admit that the floods of stories from the #MeToo movement can be difficult at times to consume, especially as as a survivor of sexual abuse and as someone who has worked with victims of sexual violence for years.

"It is hard sometimes when you see these floods of stories, to know that everybody you love, that everybody you care about, has been harmed and touched by this. And so, it can feel overwhelming to see such raw stories come forward."