Amid the nationwide push to address sexual assault, women everywhere are joining together to say #MeToo. From touching personal narratives to the “black carpet” at this year’s Golden Globe awards, women are emerging from socially constructed shadows of taboo and shame to speak about their experiences as survivors of sexual assault and misconduct.

The brave women who have come forward to lead and join the #MeToo movement have enabled solidarity and empathy that transcends cultural boundaries.

One such woman is Oprah Winfrey — herself a survivor of sexual assault — who spoke life into the silenced story of Recy Taylor, a black woman who was abducted and raped by six white men in her small Alabama town in 1944. Unsurprisingly, the jury that acquitted her rapists consisted of all white men.

Taylor’s experience highlights the ways women are often discredited for their traumas, and how black women are disproportionately less likely to be believed than their white counterparts if they speak up about sexual assault.

These horror stories have not yet been relegated to the past. Film producer Harvey Weinstein faced allegations from many white women, but only disputed the account of black actress Lupita Nyong’o. Weinstein’s insistence on challenging Nyong’o, his only black accuser, exemplifies the disparities between women of color and white women.

Weinstein’s exhibited prejudice against black women is nothing new. Black women have historically been silenced and pushed to the margins of society.

The BRAVE — Black, Resilient, Artistic, Vigilant, Enough — Summit, has worked since its 2015 inception to address this inequity that is undeniably present in society at large.

This year’s summit, scheduled for March 17, will focus on using artistic expression to amplify the voices of black women. Summit sessions on black girl joy, women in the workplace, academia and activism, and women in ministry all address issues black women face in our contemporary world. The opportunity to discuss these pertinent topics amid the heightened national conversation about sexual assault underscores the value of spaces tailored to individual demographic needs.

Another feminist space on Georgetown’s campus is the OWN IT Summit, founded in 2014 to “bridge the gap between female leaders of the 21st century and the millennials who admire them.” This year’s summit aims specifically to draw attention to the idea of consent that the #MeToo movement brought into the spotlight. OWN IT fosters dialogue between generations of women who might not otherwise have occasion to talk to each other, creating an inclusive, feminist space that seeks to effect visible change in the world in spheres ranging from business to the arts.

This push for change is evident in OWN IT’s partnership with Bossier Magazine, a Georgetown publication for female authors and artists, to produce “A Culture of Consent: An Art Gallery to Benefit the D.C. Rape Crisis Center.” In anticipation of the OWN IT summit on March 25, this event invites artists of all disciplines to submit pieces tackling sexual assault, envisioning a world where consent is customary. Like the women of the #MeToo movement, OWN IT believes that by telling our individual stories and using our collective voice to discuss women’s issues like sexual assault, we can create a brighter and more feminist future.

The two upcoming summits underscore the ways women from diverse backgrounds can unite to promote a universal acceptance of the importance of consent and amplify particular voices that have long been marginalized. We endorse the groundbreaking #MeToo movement, then we push and strive to emulate its increasingly inclusive nature in our respective summits.

When women from all walks of life unite to speak out and elevate each other, all women benefit. In this vein, BRAVE and OWN IT seek to build bridges between all women. In doing so, we can foster the spread of true intersectional feminism.

In this spirit, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke reminds us: “We need a complete cultural transformation if we are to eradicate sexual assault in our lifetimes. Today is an opportunity for all of us to take a hard look in the mirror and answer the question: When you hear #MeToo, will you stand up and say #NoMore?”

Rebecca Richard is a junior in the SFS and the BRAVE Summit logistics chair. Emma Woodruff is a freshman in the SFS and deputy of philanthropy for the OWN IT Summit.

For tickets and more information on the OWN IT and BRAVE summits, visit and

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