By Kelly Kennedy, Social Media Editor
The Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center will revitalize #MeToo Mondays for the fall semester on Oct. 3 in Kelly 3C. #MeToo Mondays is a student-led support group for survivors of sexual abuse and harrassment. This year, the group will be led by senior Kate Behrens.
#MeToo Mondays were started in 2019 by Julia Ettere ’21 while she was a student at Manhattan. She has since passed the torch down to Beherns, who has been leading the group since fall 2021.
“I started #MeToo Mondays because I know how isolating it can be to experience sexual assault, sexual harassment or intimate partner violence,” Ettere said. “And unfortunately, there’s a lot of victim blaming, victim shaming and stigma directed towards survivors and it can be very difficult for survivors to find people where it’s safe enough to open up to them.”
The group hopes to create a welcoming environment where students can come to talk about their healing process without having to go into detail about their abuse. Each session begins with a prompt, where students are then given the opportunity to write about it and share with the group if they want to.
“We meet bi-weekly, and it is for anyone who has ever experienced any intimate partner violence, ending sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Beherns said. “Sometimes people are a little afraid that we touch on what happened and we don’t do that. Our prompts are about your healing process.”
The most important part of the #MeToo Mondays program is that it gives students the chance to make friends who have experienced the same trauma, and know that they aren’t alone.
Goldie Adele is the current compliance officer of Title IX here at Manhattan College. He believes that this type of support can be very helpful to students who are beginning their healing process.
“Programs like these are very important, it creates a safe space, a comfortable space for students to hopefully talk about the trauma they experienced and build connections with other students and share resources and experiences with others,” said Adele. “I think it’s very critical. Outside the formal process, we have Title IX as one key piece. It is important that [students are] actually doing what he or she needs to get through this traumatic experience.”
Ettere began this program for this reason, to make survivors know that they are not alone.
“I wanted survivors to have the chance to speak with other survivors. There’s something really powerful about it to talk to people who have experienced the same type of trauma as you and I wanted survivors to see that they weren’t alone, and that there’s nothing wrong with them, or what happened to them,” Ettere said.
Behrens joined as a freshman, and has found the group to be a huge support in her healing process. After finding so much support in this group, she now encourages others to join.
“Coming to college and being away from everyone who knew what had happened to me, I felt like I didn’t have an outlet. I was like, ‘How do I tell people?’ and it was so intimidating. I think it gives students a place to go without having to ever say, ‘This is what happened to me specifically,’ it’s just assumed and we don’t have to talk about exactly what happened, but it’s a nice way to make friends and just have an outlet,” Beherns said.
#MeToo Mondays first meeting will be on Oct. 3. For more information, follow the Instagram page, @mc_metoomondays.