#MeToo - Two Little Words With One Powerful Message
Scrolling down your Twitter feed today, you may have noticed that there are two little words sat at the top of your trending box, #MeToo. In light of the Harvey Weinstein case, thousands of women - and men - have used the hashtag to emphasise how common, and, in many ways, how accepted, sexual assault has become.
Despite being such a simple phrase, it has created a powerful image, spreading awareness both across social media and around the world. It also highlights how many victims of harassment and assault aren't prepared to speak out or simply don't.
Actress Alyssa Milano, who starred in Charmed with Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein's alleged victims, seemed to first post the hashtag by sharing a note, which read: "Suggested by a friend: 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."
"If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," Alyssa added.
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
So many people have now responded to the post, highlighting just how many of us have been affected throughout our lives. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have been flooded with personal stories of sexual assault and harassment, creating a harrowing picture of just how widespread the issue is.
It can no longer and should not be ignored, whether it happens at at work, school, uni, the gym, on the street, in a club - anywhere. Here are some of the most poignant tweets posted in the protest...
"Sexual assault is something you hear about SOMETIMES. Most stories are kept quiet. The fear creeps in, but you are not alone! Ever. #MeToo."
if you see some women not posting #metoo chances are they've still been harassed but feel silenced by a society that tends to punish the woman who was harassed and not the man who harassed her
- Alex Harnack (@anack) October 16, 2017
"#MeToo and in honor of DV awareness; it was sexual assault at the hands of someone who supposedly loved me!"
It's not always strangers we should be wary of. Sexual abuse happens within the family and it's usually kept quiet to save face. #MeToo
- Nashwa Saeed (@nutwa) October 16, 2017
"My attackers hurt me, but I'm so strong because of everything that happened. I am a SURVIVOR ##MeToo."
It wasn't your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. It doesn't define you. #MeToo
- KC_Sass (@KC_Sass) October 16, 2017
"It happens in any where: work, school, clubs, churches, gyms, homes. #MeToo."
So many I care about have written #MeToo. The voices of survivors are inspiring & heartbreaking. The silence of perpetrators is deafening.
- Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) October 16, 2017
"Six years later I have to remind myself: It's not my fault. It's not ok. And it's not part of a "normal" college experience. #MeToo."
When it has happened over and over, yet I still fear I will be told I'm saying it for attention. That is why it's important #metoo
- Kellie Heumann (@givesyoukel95) October 16, 2017
"#MeToo Nobody has the right to trespass your personal space. And it's never too late to speak up and stand against sexual assault."
This #MeToo campaign is triggering. But it's good. Speak up.
- natz 2.0 :sparkles: (@NatalieAndrew) October 16, 2017
The campaign first began on Sunday evening, and is still going in full force as upsetting messages, personal stories and emotional pleas pour onto social media networks.
Other defiant women claimed they won't "admit" anything in the campaign because it would insinuate that they had done something to deserve it, and were not victims. Some people have spoke of their hopes that one day, it will be men writing #ItWasMe instead.
Several A-list celebrities like Lady Gaga, Gabrielle Union, X-Men's Anna Paquin, Debra Messing of Will & Grace and Glee's Laura Drefuss have all also used the hashtag.
The social media protest comes after actresses, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, as well as more than 20 other women, have come forward and accused Weinstein of sexual assault. He has also been accused of rape.
The movie mogul has been fired from his production company after the New York Times published allegations from multiple women who claimed that he had sexually harassed them throughout his long film career.
In the midst of the scandal, Weinstein's wife of 10 years and British fashion designer, Georgina Chapman, with who he shares two young children, announced that she was going to file for divorce from the disgraced star.
In a statement, Georgina said: "My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband. Caring for my young children is my first priority and I ask the media for privacy at this time."
Weinstein has been stripped of his membership for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since the allegations came to light. They seemed keen to not isolate their move just to Weinstein, slamming any other incident of "sexually predatory behaviour".
A statement for the academy revealed: "We [have voted to expel Weinstein] not simply to separate ourselves from someone who does not merit the respect of his colleagues but also to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behaviour and workplace harassment in our industry is over."
It's not just in the U.K and U.S that the hashtag is now trending in either. Social media users in France are using #BalancetonPorc which translates to 'rat on your dirty old man' to encourage women to name and shame their attackers. #WomenWhoRoar is another term being used to encourage victims to speak out.
Both men and members of the transgender community have also shared their experiences.
Lindsay Lohan is one of the only celebs who seems to have defended Weinstein. In a now deleted video posted to her Instagram, she lashed out at his wife too...
The film producer has denied all the allegations, and in a statement on behalf of Weinstein, a spokesperson said: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.
"Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.
"Mr. Weinstein obviously can't speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual."
Featured Image Credit: PA Images/Pexels