Women around the world are taking a stand against sexual abuse by putting #MeToo on their social media posts and personal profiles.
Thousands and thousands of women have changed their status to #MeToo on Twitter, in the wake of actress Alyssa Milano’s post yesterday, about sexual assault and harassment. The actress–who is passionate about women’s rights–explained in her post that if people who had experienced abuse tweeted ‘me too’ it might “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Women, and some men, are openly sharing their experiences of sexual assault and the hashtag is spreading like wild fire across social media. People are tagging their profiles to indicate that they too have been the victims of sexual harassment or abuse.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
Lies, Deceit and Sexual Entitlement
The trend comes after many people took to Twitter to speak out against Hollywood film producer and former film studio executive,
Over 30 women have so far come forward with accusations against Weinstein and this has opened up a wider discussion about the problem of sexual assault in entertainment and other industries. The 65 year-old Hollywood film producer is a massive figure in the film world; with his brother he co-founded Miramax, and his film productions have won 81 Oscars and been nominated for over 300.
Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” any allegations of non-consensual sex. Over two dozen women, including actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan, have made a number of accusations against him. London Metropolitan Police and New York authorities are investigating the claims against him. The disgraced Hollywood mogul has since been fired, lost his wife and his membership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
I Said NO!
Allegations of sexual assault are not unusual in Hollywood. Other famous sexual abuse scandals surrounded Bill Cosby and Woody Allen. In fact, sexual abuse is part and parcel of the culture of many workplaces, even if the official line says something different. The issue is that men of power and influence get away with it, or have the leverage to make or break a woman’s career, and women are often silenced or tainted by PR arsenals. Sexual assault is much more widespread than we think. And perhaps there’s a lot more for men to consider around consent–a woman who is afraid, and forced into a corner either literally, or metaphorically, is certainly not having consensual sex.
America’s largest anti-sexual violence organisation, RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), says that every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted and every 8 minutes that victim is a child. And only 6 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison. RAINN also says that 9 out of every 10 victims of rape are female. It’s fair to say that these are the reported abuses. There would most certainly be many more unreported instances of both sexual harassment and assault. Too often young women are frightened to speak up and also believe they won’t be heard, because really, that is what has happened to thousands and thousands of women around the globe. When you’re not in a position of power, people don’t listen.
The Power of Many Voices
#MeToo is an all too painful reality for so many women in the world today. Women who have been leered at, groped, forced, silenced, threatened and belittled, we hear you and we stand with you. As a young BBC journalist I endured lascivious suggestions from an editor who was often groping my bottom. I most certainly wasn’t the only one subjected to this sort of negative attention, but he got away with it and probably a lot more. I’m not unique and this wasn’t the only sexual harassment I endured, it was one of at least dozens of different encounters. Most of my female friends have experienced all sorts of sexual harassment and abuse too.
i hope i live long enough to see the day when my female friends are writing #MeToo on social media to mean"i finally feel safe in the world"
— 🎃Lane Moore🎃 (@hellolanemoore) October 15, 2017
This outpouring on social media is a new beginning. An opportunity to acknowledge and release what women have had to endure. We cannot walk forward without this acknowledgement and the healing of the shame, stigma and torment of so, so many women. Perhaps the time has finally come where the truth can arise, we can start the conversations, and expose the consciousness that treats women as objects and sexual playthings. Women’s voices need to be heard and let’s hope #MeToo can plant the seeds needed to change the culture of sexual entitlement that exists across the board professionally and elsewhere.
Sexual harassment and assault in the workplace are not just about Harvey Weinstein… We must change things in general. We must do better for women everywhere. – Alyssa Milano