NEW YORK CITY — As #MeToo posts about the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault have triggered anger across social media, some people are taking the next step by volunteering or donating to organizations that have been quietly leading the charge for years.
The #MeToo campaign — first introduced a decade ago by activist Tarana Burke — was re-ignited by actress Alyssa Milano as a response to a growing number of reports alleging rape and sexual assault by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
In New York City, there are many resources for people who want to help as well as people who realize they need help themselves.
Here are some of them:
► Hollaback! fights against street harassment and catcalling, along with online harassment.
The organization was founded in 2005 by a group of friends in New York City and has spread across the world.
After “me too” spread across social media, they published a support guide on their website that offered additional resources.
The nonprofit has also created a location-based app that allows people to share their stories of street harassment. They offer digital trainings on tactics including bystander intervention, online harassment and public harassment.
Their bystander training empowers people to step up to diffuse situations in public.
And they launched a guide to hosting in-person meetups to discuss sexual violence and harassment.
"I think the power of the 'me too' hashtag is you see so many people come forward for the first time, and you see so many people come forward for the 10th time," said Emily May, the Hollaback! co-founder and executive director.
"The power of the hashtag is to take what's invisible and make it visible to people who might not recognize it on the surface, but are surrounded by people who are recovering."
While "me too" sparked conversation, it brought out a further need for in-person connection — and Hollaback! is hosting an online tutorial next week on how to host these events.
"We occasionally have these bright moments but even that makes you subject to online harassment. Sitting down with real people, having these conversations, is kind of - it almost comes to a point where its so retro it becomes innovative again. There's this deep yearning for people to want to be deeply seen in this moment."
To learn more about programming, how to invite Hollaback! to an event, or to donate, visit their website.
► The Center for Anti-Violence Education, based in Park Slope, offers workshops and education aimed at stopping gender-based violence and harassment.
"All of our programming is trauma-informed, from the perspective of gender-based violence. It's really at the core of what we do," said Loren Miller, the executive director of the center. "We do a lot of healing work. Our approach is on the spectrum from trying to prevent, trying to interrupt, heal from and organize against many forms of gender-based violence."
The organization hosts "upstander" training, which focuses on creating better allies, and next week they launch a fundraiser to help fund their free programming.
To learn more about the Center for Non-Violence Education’s volunteer and donation opportunities, visit their website.
► The Anti-Violence Project runs a 24-hour bilingual hotline for victims of violence within the LGBTQ community, as well as training for organizations to learn more about violence in these communities.
Volunteers work on the group’s hotline after going through a 40-hour training course. If you take the training, which certifies you as a rape crisis counselor in New York, you must agree to work for AVP at least once a month for an entire year.
For information on donating and upcoming volunteer orientations, visit AVP’s website.
► Safe Horizon is a partner to the national Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN, which is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the country.
They provide support from counseling and legal services to shelter for victims of domestic violence.
They have a long list of volunteer opportunities, depending on skills. Volunteers also work with a number of teams, including the streetwork project, family justice center, counseling center, child advocacy center, anti-trafficking project and more.
Safe Horizon works with city agencies such as the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
Commissioner Cecile Noel said all victims of any kind of violence and harassment can receive legal and mental health support along with other help at the city’s five Family Justice Centers, which are housed in each borough’s district attorney’s office. All services are free.
“If you're affected by any of these issues you should feel comfortable and free to come in,” she told DNAinfo New York.
For more information on how to volunteer, or donate, visit their website.