What does #MeToo mean to you?

What does #MeToo mean to you?
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The hashtag "me too" has created a social media storm, as well as a chance for men and women to share their stories of sexual assault or harassment online.

What does "me too" mean to you?

A question that more than 12 million people answered in 24 hours hours on Facebook, including some on the West Texas A&M campus.

"I hash tagged me too yesterday as well," said Kelly McCauley.

The WTAMU professor says she was hesitant to share her personal experience at first, but then felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

"I also saw so many of my Facebook friends sharing," said McCauley. "Raising awareness was more important to me yesterday and also showing solidarity with everyone who has experienced either sexual harassment or sexual assault."

Graduate student Miguel Soto said he was surprised to see all of the posts.

"It comes to the idea that you don't know what someone has gone through until you're told about it or until you see something of that sort," said Soto.

WT University Police said in 2014 and 2015,  three sexual assaults were reported on campus. In 2016, six were reported but two of them were out of their jurisdiction.

Sergeant Jack Hildebrand said the increase is in part due to social media making it more comfortable for students to communicate with them about these incidents.

"Students, they use that form of communication quite a bit for their news, things about the university," said Hildebrand. "So we're a part of that and we certainly try to get information out by doing Facebook and other things, and we also receive information from the community and campus at large."

Family Support Services director of crisis services Kathy Tortoreo said the "me too" movement is making it easier for people to cope with their experiences, and that they encourage others to participate.

"Any individual who's experienced that kind of harassment or sexual assault needs to know they're not alone," said Tortoreo. "They need to know there are people out there that are waiting to help them. They need to know that connecting, whether it's with a professional, or a friend or a colleague, can be very very empowering and freeing so it's okay and do that. Shake off the shame and humiliation because it doesn't belong to you it's time to connect with people who can help."

If you need someone to talk to about sexual assault or just information about the kind of services available, call Family Support Services at (806)342-2500.

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