New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

First, she was a survivor: #MeToo’s Tarana Burke tells her story


“Maybe it won’t catch on.”

That’s what Tarana Burke was thinking — indeed, hoping — when she first found out the phrase “MeToo” was suddenly circulatin­g online in October 2017, in the wake of shocking revelation­s about Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

It was a phrase she had come up with over years of working with survivors of sexual violence. And she worried that it would be co-opted or misused, turned into a mere hashtag for a brief moment of social media frenzy and ruining the hard work she had done.

As it turned out, it did catch on. Actor Alyssa Milano had asked victims of sexual assault or harassment to share their stories or simply say #MeToo, and hundreds of thousands had done so on the very first day. But Burke’s fears did not materializ­e, and her movement has taken off in a way she’d never dreamed.

Now, as the #MeToo movement — the social reckoning that began in 2017 — approaches its fourth anniversar­y, Burke, 48, has come out with a highly personal, often raw memoir of her childhood in the Bronx in New York City, her journey into activism, and the beginnings of #MeToo. She also provides a vivid account of how she herself was raped when she was only seven years old — an event that shaped her future in profound ways.

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