Toronto – March 9, 2019 – Activists from UFCW Canada’s National Office and UFCW Local 1006A recently attended a special event with Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, at Ryerson University ahead of this year’s International Women’s Day.
Co-hosted by the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and Consent Comes First Ryerson, the event featured an interview with Burke conducted by renowned CBC journalist Nana aba Duncan, as well as an opening by Farrah Khan.
At the event, Burke spoke about the problem of silence and complicity when survivors of sexual violence and harassment disclose their abuse, and how we as activists can support survivors of gender-based violence.
Burke shared a story about a young woman she called “Heaven,” who disclosed her abuse to Burke when she was starting her career as a child and youth worker in the Bronx, New York. Burke talked about her difficulty in finding the right words to show support for Heaven at the time of her disclosure. She explained that while she did not know what to say during that encounter, she wished she could have told Heaven “Me Too” – a concept denoting that survivors should be believed when they talk about their abuse, and that people should be empowered to share their stories as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
“UFCW attended this exciting and powerful presentation leading up to International Women’s Day to show solidarity with the #MeToo movement and to support the message that survivors of sexual harassment and violence should be believed and supported,” says UFCW Canada National Representative Emmanuelle Lopez, who attended the interview with activists from UFCW Canada Local 1006A.
Since spreading as a viral social media campaign and hashtag in October 2017, the #MeToo movement has grown into an international campaign demonstrating the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, particularly in the workplace. UFCW Canada strongly supports the #MeToo movement and has launched several initiatives aimed at addressing gender-based violence and sexual harassment in the workplace. To learn more about UFCW’s work on these issues, click here.