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Over the weekend, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women to tweet the hashtag #MeToo if they had ever been sexually harassed, assaulted, or abused — and by Tuesday morning it was trending in the top spot in South Africa.
— Thabi Pebane (@Thabip) October 16, 2017
The hashtag is in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal that revealed Hollywood’s deep sexual harassment problem. Weinstein, one of the most influential producers in the industry, was found by The New York Times to have covered up three decades of sexual harassment allegations.
The New Yorker subsequently published a recording of Weinstein admitting he had groped an Italian model. He then begged her to watch him shower.
In an effort to broaden the discussion, Milano began #MeToo as a way to prove that the issue is endemic to not just one industry, but society as a whole.
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
The tag was quickly picked up, and was widely popular in South Africa, where women face a high rate of sexual assault.
Stand Up Against Sexual Harassment and Assault!!
— #BLACKDIAMOND (@LungiNaidoo) October 16, 2017
The complicity of so many to keep sexual assault, abuse and harassment buried needs to end. You’re not saving face. Just stop. #MeToo
— munchkin (@Feiawesomeol) October 16, 2017
Immensely proud of all who shared #metoo stories. Hoping the ripples become a tidal wave of societal change
— Alexis Telfer (@AlexisTelfer) October 17, 2017
Though most welcomed the tag as a means to have their stories heard, others didn’t want to perform their trauma for people on Twitter so that a problem could be understood.
— Kathryn Cleary (@clearlykath) October 17, 2017
Reminder that if a woman didn’t post #MeToo, it doesn’t mean she wasn’t sexually assaulted or harassed. Survivors don’t owe you their story.
— Alexis Benveniste (@apbenven) October 16, 2017