How do your views on the #METOO movement stack up to the rest of USYD?
WORDS BY BIANKA FARMAKIS
The University of Sydney has kicked off their very own brand of “Q&A” called “Outside the Square”, which boasts a line-up of controversial topics, trendy Inner West locations and esteemed USYD alumni to discuss it all.
On THURSDAY the topic of “#METOO: Male Privilege on Notice” started the season, with a candid conversation on whether the social media movement has made any tangible change towards the prosecution of sexual harassment and assault in our society.
In the interest of being on the forefront of technology, the panel discussion involved a live interaction screen, where guests were asked to respond to the question:
“Will #METOO prove to be a decisive event in the history of gender inequity and lead to real change?”
Asked at the start of the evening, initial results revealed that 76% believed the #METOO campaign will lead to real change, while 24% remained unconvinced.
When it came to dissecting the paradigm-breaking hashtag and its effect on Australian law and society, panellists included the author of the REDZONE Report and Walkley Awarding winning Journalist Nina Funnell, Founder of the Remarkable Woman Shivani Gopal and Barrister at Greenway Chambers Kellie Edwards.
“For any real change in society to occur, we need to have genuine attention paid behind it” said Shivani, as she went on to highlight that Alyssa Milano’s original #METOO tweet was responded to by 66’000. “That figure is now in the millions,” she continued, articulating the extent of the global response to the movement.
Posing the question of the evening to the Sydney University’s Instagram page, the social media poll came in at a 70% yes to 30% no ratio, with over 600 respondents participating.
An accidental ‘no’ click from Oxford University’s Instagram account was quickly apologised for, as our friends across the pond reaffirmed their support of the #METOO movement in our DM’s.
Continuing the evening’s discussion, Nina highlighted that the #METOO campaign has cultivated a culture of understanding and safety in coming forward with sexual harassment and assault experiences, explaining that “we teach people the laws, but we don’t teach them ethics – we’re not addressing things like empathy and respect for women.”
In terms of functional, legal change, Kellie expressed her position on #METOO clearly from the start: “I guess I’m the pessimist tonight.” She then went on to argue that “#METOO hasn’t translated into a legal movement because of the huge cost of trials… It’s a resources issue.”
The question was posed again at the conclusion of the discussion, with the final result standing at 67% yes, while an increased 33% remained unconvinced.
The whole purpose of the talks are to “change the way you think”.
At least it’s good to see the University change the way they shed light on sexual assault (even if they had to go off campus to do it).
To attend an “Outside the Square” talk, click here.