A few days ago, in a documentary recording, I was asked if #metoo was an example of women having “taken the reins” to report abuse because neither the courts nor the media had done enough.
Considering the impact of the label and the individual testimonies that have encouraged other people to share their stories over the years, it is easy to think that this is a movement that has surpassed the “institutions” that supposedly protect the common good. But the combative and supportive expression “me too” It existed long before it became a mass reporting force around the world – it had been in use since 2006 Tarana burke, an activist who had been sexually abused as a teenager by a man who is now a police officer in New York and whose name she has never revealed in public (she says she has not even dared to confront him). The impact on networks should not make us forget that the cases that have marked a before and after in the society of the United States and, by reflex, in ours, have been the result of conscientious investigations by reporters.
This Wednesday, gymnast and Olympic champion Simone Biles testified in the judicial affairs committee in the Senate. Senators are now investigating the FBI’s negligence in letting go of the crimes of Larry Nassar, who raped and abused Olympic team gymnasts for years. In a testimony in which his voice broke, Biles said at one point: “I did not understand the magnitude of everything that was happening until the Indianapolis Star published in the fall of 2016 his article entitled ‘Former US gymnastics team doctor charged with abuse‘”This Indiana newspaper did its job and continued to uncover cases and details about Nassar, convicted in 2018.
It was not the labels, but the reporting of a local newspaper. In April 2016, started investigating cases of abuse in schools and why these schools had not reported in time. During the investigation, his reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski came across that there was a complaint against the United States gymnastics team, which is based in Indianapolis. The newspaper decided to pay him a ticket to another state, Georgia, to retrieve the original complaint papers. And so the reporter began to pull the thread and discover many more cases.
Activism, labels and conversation in networks can certainly stir up the debate and put pressure on institutions, but this is one more example that without the journalistic work of investigation and confirmation of the stories, the impact is limited.
It is not always easy and we have seen few examples in Europe of investigations so deep and with such repercussion, but the fact that even someone like Simone Biles did not understand the dimension of what was happening to her and her companions until they saw it in a A newspaper headline reminds us of the unique role that the media and journalists have. The one we must respect and care for.