It’s safe to say that most everyone in America knows about #MeToo — a national movement to give victims of sexual harassment a voice online and throughout the country.
While I fully support victims finding their voice and empowering themselves against people who have broken them, this issue is so much larger than the Americans who have been affected.
Yes, sexual harassment and assault is prevalent in America and has been for years. However, it is also an issue across the world for people of all races and origins. The statistics and numbers are a bit overwhelming for how widespread and deep-seated this issue can be.
Worldwide, more than one in three women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime, according to a World Health Organization study. One in three.
In specific countries, the number is even higher. Seventy-one percent of women in Ethiopia and 50 percent of women in Tanzania have reported domestic violence, according to the same WHO study.
In South Africa, 80 percent of women had experienced some sort of abuse, according to a 2015 ActionAid report.
On the other side of the world, ActionAid discovered in Brazil that 86 percent of women had been subjected to harassment or sexual violence in public.
This is not strictly relevant to Americans. Women cannot say they stand for women’s rights and fight for these injustices against women to stop if we mean we only care about women in this country.
In fact, we should care more about women in other countries because they do not always have the power, support or voice that we are fortunate to have in America.
Here, when a woman speaks out about her abuse or assault, people listen. The media and our own use of social media has given victims the ability to call out these injustices.
However, in many countries, women are forced to silently suffer every day of their lives.
In many countries, such as Zimbabwe, women reporting their abusers or speaking about what happens to them comes with extreme repercussions — being ostracized, suffering more abuse or losing the man of the household who makes the money.
In America, we are fortunate to have the ability to start a movement that is encouraging more women to take leadership and run for public office. But this is not the case in other countries.
If you claim to fight for women, you must be for all women.