‘YOU’RE NOT ALONE’: Women in Lit Expand ‘Me, Too’ project schoolwide


Nicole Herzog

Student written comments on “Me, Too” board, presently located on the wall leading to the Memorial Garden by staircase Z. The “Me, Too” movement is a national movement that was expanded schoolwide to Lane.

By Nicole Herzog, Assistant Editor

A myriad of blank posters made for writing personal sentiments adorned the gymnasium at the annual Women in Literature Fest on Feb. 13. Large white sheets emblazoned with bold lettering read, “What does feminism mean to you?” as well as “What change do you want to see in the world?” Among them, one particular board had the most overwhelming presence: “Me, Too.”

Teeming with Post-It Notes of every color, the “Me, Too” board was overflowing with responses. Some were concise, such as “CTA.” “My uncle,” said another. Others detailed descriptive incidents. “It was my best friend. It all happened so fast, and after a while, I just shut down.”

Hundreds of similar responses plastered the board at different angles. They all told a different story, but each were a product of what some might consider a common narrative women have faced for centuries: sexual assault.

“We had all been talking in class about our experiences of being sexually harassed, or worse, and we wanted an outlet for it,” Mrs. Feuer, who teaches Women in Literature, said. “We thought it was definitely something happening to people in this building. It happens to people all over the world.”

Due to the outstanding response to the “Me, Too” board, the Women in Literature class decided to expand the project schoolwide.

“We decided that we wanted this forum to be something that more people could access and that we could share with the school more,” Feuer said. “We thought that a limited number of people came to our event, so we wanted to display this and we wanted to get more input about it so that people had a place to vent about these things, share their experiences and also be validated.”

Emayli Holmes, Div. 857, who is a student in the Women in Lit class, expressed that the project is a call-to-action for social change.

“We can’t have change without the conversation that happens before it, the addressing that something is wrong, and once you have that conversation, change can follow,” Holmes said. “If we just try and change the climate without talking about what our current climate is, nothing will happen.”

The “Me, Too” movement is not unique to Lane. It is a widespread national movement that has encouraged victims of sexual assault to speak up about their individual experiences.

“It’s been this huge movement in the country, and I think that the more communities that say, ‘Yes, us too,’ takes the blame off of the people who are wrongly feeling like it’s their fault,” Feuer said.  “It says, “Yeah, it’s not your fault.” It’s happening to so many people who are vulnerable. Speaking out on it takes power away from [the perpetrators].”

Feuer said she believes that the project will allow students to feel validated about their own experiences.

“It’s very cathartic to be able to put that out in the world and not just be internalizing it,” Feuer said “And, also, it’s really validating to see other people’s experiences, right? To see that you’re not alone and also to be able to say to other people, ‘You’re not alone.’”

Upon expanding the project schoolwide, the class expressed their desire to end the silence on sexual assault.

“The number one message we are looking to send is that every person who has any experience with sexual assault has a voice,” said Sara Ryan-Jetha, Div. 869, a student in the Women in Literature class, said “For so long, those voices have been silenced, but it’s so important for people to understand that their voice means something.Another thing that we’re trying to demonstrate is the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment that occurs in our day to day lives.”

According to fellow student Jake Nolan, Div. 871, awareness is an equally prominent aspect of the project.

“The issues of sexual assault and harassment affect everyone,” Nolan said. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of if you have experienced it and we as a community are all there to support those who have been victims of it.”

The “Me, Too” walls can presently be viewed on the wall leading to the Memorial Garden by   staircase Z and in the art gallery. According to Holmes, a Google document (accessible at the top of the general student news emails) can also be utilized to send in responses for those who are not comfortable posting a physical comment.

“The more people that speak out, the more solid steps that can be taken to do something about it,” Ryan-Jetha said. “The hope is that everyone who has any experience with sexual harassment and assault will feel comfortable sharing their stories because not only will that help put an end to it, we believe it can facilitate in healing.”