The numbers are staggering.
After actor Alyssa Milano tweeted “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem” on October 15, 2017, half a million people responded just in the first 24 hours.
By the end of November, more than 1.7 million Tweets had included the hashtag, or its translations, throughout the world. The numbers have continued to grow ever since – and that’s just on Twitter.
Viral? This grassroots effort defines the term. #MeToo was immediately picked up on every continent, but particularly in the U.S., Europe, Australia and India. The hashtag has been posted millions of times across all social media sites, often accompanied with very personal stories of sexual assaultor harassment.
The legitimacy of the campaign has been aided by celebrities who have rallied behind this cause, revealing their hidden struggles. Famous personalities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angela Jolie, Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino shared their stories of sexual assault and harassment, particularly as the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfolded.
#MeToo Has Actually Been Around for a While
Although Milano’s tweet last fall got the ball rolling, social activist and community organizer Tarana Burke actually coined the “Me Too” phrase on Myspace more than 10 years ago. In 2006, Burke and others formed a grassroots campaign to promote “empowerment through empathy” among women of color who had been victims of sexual abuse, particularly in poor areas.
Burke relates that she regretted not telling a young girl “Me too” after the girl confided to her that she had been sexually assaulted. Burke’s intention in using this specific phrase was to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual assault and harassment in society.
The goals of this movement are even loftier than its viral spread, as highlighted by Burke:
- Processing all untested rape kits
- Re-examining local school policies
- Updating sexual harassment policies
- Improving teacher vetting processes
- Instituting fingerprinting and background check processes for professionals who work with children
- Sex education including how to report predatory behavior immediately
- Changing sexual assault/harassment retaliation laws as well as those that allow publicly traded companies to hide cover-up money from stockholders
Fallout from #MeToo Is Just Starting
Although the campaign is only 6 months old, there have already been some major upheavals across many industries because of those who have come forth with charges of sexual misconduct.
The Weinstein Company, founded by Bob and Harry Weinstein in 2005, has gone bankrupt.
Those who have broken their silence and shared their horror stories of sexual assault and harassment, whether via the #MeToo campaign or through other means, were recognized by Timemagazine as their Persons of the Year for 2017: “The Silence Breakers.”
And the wheels are turning in terms of policy changes via legislation. What’s next? This is a movement that will not be stopped. Let us help you if you have been a victim of sexual harassment or sexual abuse.
Let Us Know If You Have Been a Victim of Sexual Misconduct
If you or a family member has experienced sexual assaultor sexual harassmentof any kind or has been injured in an accidentor by any other type of personal injury, or needs help with any employment discriminationor family lawissue, please contact the Law Offices of Paul S. Foreman, P.C.immediately. We have the right experience to get the optimal results for your case. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorney Paul S. Foreman, personal injury attorney in Essex, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 973-315-3232 or contact usvia the website.