“I’m Building Something That Doesn’t Exist” #MeToo Founder Tarana Burke Raising Funds For Survivors

April 13, 2018  |  

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#MeToo Movement founder Tarana Burke is one of five women covering Variety‘s New York “Power of Women” issues. She shares the honor with singer Alicia Keys, writer Tina Fey, actress Emily Blunt, and author Margaret Atwood.

But Burke stands on her own, being the one who, no doubt, has been inspiring the others although her notoriety, compared to the them, is super new.

In her interview with the mag, Burke explains that the six-month conversation around the #MeToo movement needs to shift. She feels like the victims of sexual assault, harassment and violence have been overwhelmingly criticized, and she is not here for that.

“We have had a sustained national dialogue for less than six months, and people are saying it’s too much,” she said.

She called out actors Alec Baldwin and Sean Penn and motivational speaker Tony Robbins who have been critical of the movement. Robbins was the most recent critic, who said just last month that he believes some women are using the movement “to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else.”

So, as the architect of the movement, Burke is designing a new path for women speaking out about these violations. As someone who survived sexual violence herself, she believes that conversations are not enough. People need real, tangible help. So, she started a fund “to build something that doesn’t exist yet.”

Burke explained that the fund would contribute to creating a global online and offline community that provides guidance to survivors. The movement has raised $100,000 so far, with actress Viola Davis being one of its financial supporters. But Burke’s goal is to raise 10 times that amount. In her opinion, that goal would allow survivors to “reclaim their power,” as the Variety article reads.

“In the first 24 hours of #MeToo going viral, just on Facebook there were 12 million engaged with the hashtag,” she said. “If, in this country, we had an outbreak of some communicable disease that 12 million people got in a 24-hour time period, we would be focused solely on the cure. That’s the difference in how people think about the disease of sexual violence.”

Renese spends her early mornings writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
Follow Renese on Twitter: @reneseford

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