Women Flood Twitter And Facebook With Stories Of Sexual Assault

Women are flooding Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #MeToo as part of a spontaneous campaign to reveal the scale of sexual harassment and assault. It started yesterday afternoon when actress, producer and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

At the time of writing — just 18 hours later — 37,000 people had replied to her Tweet. Many more people have taken up the hashtag and posted on Twitter and Facebook. The hashtag has been used more than 200,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The hashtag trend also follows more rape allegations made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. More than 20 women, including actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rose McGowan, have accused the producer of sexual assault and rape.

Since then, Twitter suspended actress Rose McGowan’s account, after she was critical of Weinstein, and reportedly Tweeted someone’s personal phone number while discussing an alleged assault against her. Then on Friday, some users planned a boycott of Twitter for a day, to highlight the way women are often silenced.

However, women like Amy Siskind, president of women’s advocacy group New Agenda, said they didn’t feel like “another quiet day.” That saw #womenwhoroar take off over the weekend, joined eventually by #MeToo.

The trend has carried over to other languages, with Spanish speakers using #YoTambien, and French speakers using #balancetonporc (rat on your dirty old man). Many women have included their particular stories of rape, workplace harassment, street harassment and sexual assault.

— Tamara Pearson

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