A Jewish Approach on “Me Too”

5 years ago hkaplun 0

As a seventeen-year-old girl preparing to head to college, there is a lot on my mind: Will my roommate be super messy? Will I choose the right major? Is Freshman 15 a real thing? Unfortunately, another thought runs around my head–sexual assault. This is a very real concern. In fact, my mom suggested that I take self-defense classes in order to be able to protect myself. It’s so sad that this is something women constantly think about. Recently, Tarana Burke’s “me too” movement came back into the spotlight when  Alyssa Milano tweeted “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘me too.’ As a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” This tweet started a viral awareness campaign empowering women to share their stories. It shows that survivors are not alone and the presence of countless statuses saying “me too” shows how many people have been affected by sexual assault.

The conversation that this has sparked is amazing. It’s beyond a hashtag; it stands for giving people courage through empathy to inspire women to share their stories. It has created a solidarity among women. However, why is a big scandal the item that sparks the conversation? Shouldn’t we use our ethical responsibilities as citizens of the world to do something about it before it happens?!

In Parshat Noach, it says that after the flood, Noach planted a vineyard. Noach drank all the wine, became drunk, and “uncovered himself within his tent.” One of his sons, Ham, saw his father naked, and immediately told his two brothers. The brothers, Shem and Japheth, took a garment and “laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backwards and covered their father’s nakedness.” You must respect people’s privacy regardless of their state. Just because someone is not completely conscious does not mean they can be taken advantage of. The Torah has a lesson to teach us. It is our ethical responsibility to treat people fairly, no matter what.

This rings true in college where, unfortunately, this situation happens all the time.

It’s so interesting how a passage of Torah can be applicable in almost any aspect of life. With that in mind, I’d like to invite us all to think differently about “Me Too.” How can we become ambassadors for ethical, responsible behavior? As Jews, we are walking beacons of light and hope. We’re symbols, and everywhere we go, we show off our Jewishness….