In an impassioned piece for The Huffington Post, doctoral candidate Mari Kate Mycek shares the first-hand accounts of the homeless women she’s encountered in her work:

“One young woman living in a shelter told me she never goes anywhere alone. Because men know she is homeless, they presume she’s also willing to trade sex for money ― and mistreat her as such.”

Mycek emphasizes that homeless women do not have the same resources to find food elsewhere, and must sometimes choose between eating and enduring harassment or going hungry for safety.

It’s a heartbreaking example of how much further #MeToo needs to go before it encompasses all those affected by sexual harassment and abuse. This problem has always far extended beyond Hollywood’s studio offices.

There’s no shortage of testimonials from homeless women about the targeted abuse they face. In 2014, Pacific Standard wrote about the issue of violence against homeless women. The 300 women surveyed reported higher incidences of “post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and “some women initiate or increase drug use soon after intimate partner violence.”

A few years later, in 2016, the L.A. Times looked at the matter in their own backyard in skid row. One in three homeless people living in Los Angeles are women, and their numbers are increasing. Most of them reported one incident or another of being physically or sexually assaulted.

An earlier Huffington Post article details the choices facing women in domestic violence situations. Many of these women must decide between staying with their abuser or live on the streets.

Another statistic ties about half of women in homeless situations to domestic violence. Homeless women are more likely to have survived physical or sexual abuse in their past.

This discussion isn’t one prompted by the consciousness rising of #MeToo, but it should be.

There are more vulnerable communities that need help and need to be heard. Especially if they’re being heard for the first time.

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