Thousands of women respond 'me too' on assaults

AFP
Actress Alyssa Milano has sparked a huge outpouring with a simple Twitter request that women respond “me too” if they have been sexually assaulted or harassed.
AFP
AFP

This file photo taken on January 27, 2017 shows actress Alyssa Milano attending the red carpet event for the NHL 100 gala presented by Geico at the Microsoft theatre in Los Angeles, California.

Actress Alyssa Milano has sparked a huge outpouring with a simple Twitter request that women respond “me too” if they have been sexually assaulted or harassed.

More than 27,000 people replied, making “#MeToo” the top trending topic through the day on Sunday.

The avalanche of painful personal stories comes amid a series of high-profile sex abuse scandals — the latest centered around powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The intensity and breadth of the response underscored how the problem extends well beyond the rich and famous, affecting the everyday lives of women around the world.

“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” Milano wrote.

In France, a similar campaign with the top-trending hashtag #balancetonporc (“Expose the pig”) saw women share their experiences of being sexually harassed at work or in the street.

It was started by Sandra Muller, a journalist who began the hashtag by recounting how her former boss had called her “my type of woman” and then commented on her breasts.

Many women in the United States and France appeared to be speaking out for the first time about abuses they had suffered, often saying they had to overcome feelings of shame and embarrassment to do so.

Some women using the #metoo hashtag said they had been abused as children by relatives, or as a teenager by a person they trusted. That nobody believed them when they spoke about it emerged as a common refrain.

“I wish I could remember who I was before #MeToo,” a woman named Rosey wrote.

“Molested by a family member. Raped as a kid and an adult. Became a drug addict and then overcame. Don’t ever give up. I’m here#MeToo,” Amy Christensen said in her post.

“Sexual assaulted by a military doctor at Lackland AFB. 1973,” said DebiDay, referring to a US Air Force base in Texas. “Me, too. I spoke out. What did I learn. That no one, absolutely no one, would listen, much less help,” said Lisa Omlid.

There were many sympathetic responses from men.

Although the overwhelming majority of the posts were personal in nature, the Weinstein scandal and US President Donald Trump’s videotaped boasts of groping women with impunity also drew comments.

More than 20 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of rape, assault and sexual harassment. Weinstein insists any sexual encounters were consensual.


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