#MeToo Butler Instagram account seeks to end rape culture

Students create Instagram inspired by #MeToo. Photo courtesy of econreview.berkeley.edu. 

GRACE WORCESTER | STAFF REPORTER | gworcester@butler.edu 

On Nov. 24, three Butler students created an Instagram account titled @metoobutleru that is calling for an end to rape culture at Butler and other college campuses. The #MeToo movement has inspired Instagram accounts at some colleges, including previous ones at Butler, supporting those who are victims of sexual violence on their campuses. Butler students can click the link in the @metoobutleru Instagram bio to learn about ways to be an advocate, get resources and submit a testimony to the Instagram page. 

The official “#MeToo” movement started a hashtag on Oct. 15, 2017 that went viral with survivors sharing their stories on social media. 

The #MeToo Butler account is meant to encourage people to speak out against sexual violence and harassment. A post on the #MeToo Butler account shared that among undergraduate students, 26.4% of females and 6.8% of males reported experiencing rape or sexual assault through violence, physical force or incapacitation. Other specific statistics of sexual violence are shared on the #MeToo website

One of the owner’s, a first-year student at Butler, of the #MeToo account handles the testimonies, while the other two find reliable resources to post to the page about sexual violence and misconduct. 

The first-year student said the inspiration behind the account came from protests other campuses have had. 

The person who started the #MeToo Butler account spoke with a friend at Purdue who described their experience at a protest that was hosted by #MeToo Purdue. Since Butler did not yet have a #MeToo Instagram account, the student decided to start one because a lot of their friends have had bad experiences on campus and they want to bring light to it. 

On their first Instagram post, the owners shared a mission statement for their account.

“At Butler University, we want to bring light and awareness to the injustice that has occurred and continues to occur on our campus,” the post said. “Our goal is to create a space in which victims and survivors feel safe and supported. We wish to use our platform to provide justice and a positive change within our community, and truly embody what ‘The Butler Way’ should be.”

One of the owner’s said that if a student has a testimony to share, they should fill out the Google Form in their Instagram bio. They will be given the option of posting their testimony publicly to the account, keeping the testimony private or sharing with the university if the owners decide to compile the testimonies to share with Butler staff. 

The goal of the account is in support of all individuals no matter how they identify. Those with disabilities are three times more likely to be physically abused or assaulted, while 40% of those with disabilities will experience domestic sexual assault or physical violence in their lifetimes and more than 80% of all people with developmental disabilities will experience sexual assault in their lifetimes, according to websites such as Disability Justice, Now and National Disability Rights Network

Julianne Arthur, sexual assault and response prevention, SARP, specialist, shared her thoughts about the account and what she hopes for the future of rape culture at Butler. 

“It’s great to see students take such an active interest in creating conversation with experiences of survivors,” Arthur said. “Seeing what we can do as a community to end rape culture and to create a difference is what I am 100% trying to do with my office. Health services, counseling and consultation services, Center for Faith and Vocations and my [SARP] office are confidential offices that students who are in need of help can go to.” 

A first-year Butler student, using the pseudonym Paige, was one of the first few followers of the Instagram account. Paige has experienced sexual misconduct on campus. 

“I had people take advantage of me in my own dorm room,” Paige said. “My hopes for the future would be that these testimonies can be brought to the university and that they can provide more realistic ways of sexual misconduct education and consent education. I felt that my experience was not validated and through this account I now feel that I have support and am heard.”

Below are resources students can use if they or someone they know is in need of help after experiencing sexual misconduct, assault, harrasment, stalking or advice on healthy relationships. 

Sexual assault victim advocate hotline: (317) 910-5572 

Butler SARP: (317) 940-2047 

Julianne Arthur, SARP specialist: jearthur@butler.edu 

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