Archiving #MeToo Toolkit

Understand The #MeToo Movement

In 2006, the "me too" movement was founded by activist Tarana Burke "to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly Black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing."

In 2017, following sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the hashtag #MeToo went viral on social media. High profile women, starting with actress Alyssa Milano, began sharing their experiences of harassment and assault, empowering others to do the same across the globe. This prompted investigations into a number of powerful men, resulting in some resignations and dismissals from positions of power, though, in keeping with our culture’s deep suspicion of women’s accusations, many men accused have remained professionally unaffected.

Contextualize #MeToo and the Jewish Community

The Jewish community, like most, has felt the impact of the #MeToo movement, and Jewish people of all genders have #MeToo stories to tell. In fact, many survivors confide that Jewish communal norms often prevent them from coming forward. In order to break the silence that reinforces trauma and sustains inequality and to create a safe and equitable environment for all, it is imperative that we share and document #MeToo stories that are affecting Jews and the Jewish community alike.

Read “Michael Steinhardt sexually harassed me. I spent the next 4 years trying to hold him accountable.” by Sheila Katz, CEO of NCJW, as she details the unique issues of disclosing harassment in Jewish spaces.

While women from all walks of life have experienced gender-based violence, sexual discrimination often intersects with other aspects of a woman’s identity, such as class, race, religion, sexuality, and disability, to further marginalize them. The majority of reporting on #MeToo narratives fails to address the complexities of the intersectional issues facing women who experience assault and harassment. Women of color were at the center of #MeToo from the very inception of the movement, and so it is vital that efforts are made to represent them and center their voices now, especially as they continue to be underrepresented within Jewish spaces. We also want to acknowledge that while Jewish women are discriminated against both as Jews and as women, Jewish women of color are triply discriminated against because of their religion, gender, and race.

Archive Your #MeToo Story

JWA launched Archiving #MeToo to collect stories of harassment and assault both within the Jewish community and outside of it, and to create an archive that will ensure that the breadth of Jewish voices and experiences is preserved during this watershed movement. Taken together, these stories illustrate the organizational systems and social structures that shape women’s experiences, as well as our collective power to make change.

Archiving #MeToo is part of JWA’s larger story collecting project, Story Aperture, an initiative that enables people of all ages and genders to collect and share the untold and underrepresented stories of Jewish women through mobile technology. To add a story to the collection via the Story Aperture app, follow these simple steps (you can also share a story on JWA’s website):

  1. Download Story Aperture for your Google or Apple device.
  2. Select the Archiving #MeToo Question Set.
  3. Record your own story or interview someone else (a “narrator”).
  4. Specify your privacy preferences (i.e., to remain anonymous, to restrict the sharing of your story in specific ways).
  5. Upload your story to JWA.

Depending on the permissions granted, JWA will create exhibits and other media to illustrate the breadth and diversity of the Jewish #MeToo experience.

Story collecting is an important part of raising awareness about the #MeToo movement in Jewish communities, but it can be difficult. Interviewers should be aware of the sensitivity of this topic and participants’ desire for confidentiality, especially if your narrator has requested to remain anonymous. Ensure that your narrator feels safe and supported by considering the following:

  • Be aware of personal boundaries and allow your narrator to share as much or as little as they are comfortable with. When they are finished, thank them for sharing.
  • Frame questions in a considerate manner (e.g., not asking "why," as this can imply blame).
  • Seek consent before sharing a narrator’s testimony, both within the community or with JWA.

Interviewers should also be aware of vicarious trauma that may arise from exposure to survivor testimonies and seek out support as needed.

Find Additional Resources

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Archiving #MeToo Toolkit." (Viewed on August 1, 2021) <https://jwa.org/metoo/toolkit>.

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