EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State University hosted the founder of the #MeToo movement at a sexual violence awareness event Thursday night.
Tarana Burke spoke to around 1,500 people about sexual violence and what needs to be done to stop it on a campus that has been dealing with the fallout of the Larry Nassar scandal and other sexual assault accusations within the athletic department.
Burke clarified her visit was being planned before everything came to light, but added many have reached out to her after her talk was announced.
“People have been disappointed,” Burke said during a press conference prior to the event. “Since it’s been announced that I was coming to the school I’ve gotten scores of students writing saying that they’re disappointed in how the school handled it. They feel left out of the solutions.”
Empathy for survivors and including them in ways to make change are primary focuses in Burke’s work, and she wants to make sure the narrative of that work isn’t lost as the hashtag continues its viral path.
“The narrative got shifted to one of this being about a witch hunt or who #MeToo was targeting, those kind of things and we’ve sort of stayed in that narrative for a while now and it’s a dangerous one,” she said. “Because it takes away from the real work that has to happen… People who actually hashtagged Me Too, we haven’t talked about them. We haven’t focused on them.”