Despite the dominance of the #MeToo movement in the fight against sexual violence around the world, the experiences of most vulnerable women in countries like Zambia have been generally ignored in literature. Little is known about how useful this movement is to these women. Thus the aim of this study is to fill this gap by investigating the usefulness of the #MeToo movement as a tool for handling sexual violence among women in Zambia.
The study makes use of Focus Group Discussion. It involves a sample size of 80 participants. All participants had indicated that they had suffered sexual violence at least once in their lifetime. In the recruitment process, we ensured diversity in terms of age, marital status, employment status, ethnicity, and religious affiliation. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis.
There is no doubt that the MeToo movement is a useful catalysts for highlighting the severity of sexual violence and creating opportunities of redress in Zambia. However, currently its adoption and implementation seems to be blind to the ways privilege and subordination interact with race, gender, class, and other characteristics to sustain sexual violence. The movement also seems to pay little attention to the various ways the problematic patriarchal norms in Zambia are interwoven with women’s economic survival strategies.
Our findings suggest that rather than definitively establishing the MeToo movement as an incontestable good (as has been the case in most feminist literature) or as useless because it ignores economic and cultural realities as argued by its critics our findings instead demonstrate the diversity of how this movement is locally viewed by marginalized women in Zambia and also illustrates the nuance, complexity and multidimensionality of how the movement is characterized. In this regard, our findings speak to the folly of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ standardized universalization of the MeToo movement.