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Brittany ComakJan 28, 2018, 8:39 pmJan 29, 2018, 12:11 am

#MeToo founder: Survivors can use their voice to create lasting change

Tarana Burke created the movement 10 years ago to give others the language to speak out against sexual violence


STONY BROOK — People around the globe have spoken up about sexual violence ever since “#metoo” went viral. But many still do not know Tarana Burke's name as well as some of the celebrities that have been pushed to the forefront of the movement even though she is the one who created it.

"Alyssa Milano and I are now friends and so when I was watching this hashtag and these people and these stories, I knew that this couldn't be a fight. I couldn't insert myself in the conversation and say, y'all took this. I'm the black lady who did it first. This ain't for y'all,” Burke said. “It just couldn't be that way."

Burke named the movement almost 10 years in advance to give survivors of sexual violence a voice, and on Sunday, Stony Brook University students used their voices to stand up with the woman who encouraged them to come forward. Burke joined college students, as well as local legislators, for a conversation on sexual violence and how people can be allies for survivors. She says one of the main goals should be getting survivors at the core of the movement to create lasting change.

"We're not victims. That's why we call ourselves survivors. We have solutions! We have answers, and we have the experience," Burke said.

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Oyster Bay, New York