Twitter and Facebook have recently been flooded with posts from people coming forward with their stories of sexual violence. Stories that people have never spoken about before, that bring awareness to cases where men have been sexually assaulted, women who have been assaulted by women, and stories of transgendered, cisgendered, and those across the LGBTQ spectrum who have been assaulted. These posts help those who have not felt able to tell their stories, but have been able to speak the words “me too”. These posts create harrowing realizations of the magnitude of people who have experienced varying degrees of sexual abuse or harassment.
But when did this movement begin? Why has it generated so much momentum? In order to understand the #MeToo movement, we must trace it back to its origins. Here is a brief summary of those events:
Thursday 5 October
- Decades of allegations of sexual harassment against American film producer Harvey Weinstein are detailed in an article by The New York Times.
- The accusations state Weinstein promised to help advance people’s careers in return for sexual favours. He also forced women to massage him and see him naked.
- Weinstein leaves his company and says he will be working with a therapist.
Tuesday 10 October
- 13 more women come forward and have their accusations published in the New Yorker magazine. Three of these accusations detail rape accounts. Weinstein strongly denies the three accusations of rape.
- Georgina Chapman, Weinstein’s wife, publicly announces that she is leaving him. She also states that her priority is her five children: ages 4, 7, 14, 19, and 22.
Thursday 12 October
- Police in the US and UK say they are investigating specific allegations from the 1980s and 2004. No charges have been brought.
- On Twitter, American actress, producer, director, and singer Rose McGowan (best known for her role as Paige Matthews in the supernatural drama series Charmed) claims that Weinstein raped her.
- Weinstein’s publicist issues his statement, in which he “unequivocally denied” any allegations of non-consensual sex.
- Roy Prince, Amazon Studio Chief, is put on a “leave of absence” after McGowan accused him of ignoring her previous allegations about Weinstein. Price has himself been accused of sexually harassing a female producer. Amazon says it is “reviewing projects it has with The Weinstein Company.”
To date, there are 32 women who have come forward with accusations against Harvey Weinstein. A handful of people who told their stories anonymously are left off the list. To read their stories, go to http://uk.businessinsider.com/list-of-women-who-have-accused-harvey-weinstein-of-sexual-harassment-or-assault-2017-10/#zoe-brock-31
Friend and former co-star of Rose McGowan, Alyssa Milano, has widely been credited as starting the “#MeToo” campaign. This is Milano’s original tweet:
This campaign encourages survivors to confirm a devastating, and largely unspoken, truth: That nearly every woman on Earth, and a significant minority of men, has been the victim of sexual assault and/or harassment in their lifetime.
Milano did not stop the movement there. In another post on 12 October, Milano tweeted:
The solidarity of the #MeToo movement is showing people all across the world that we can no longer tolerate sexual violence. It is time to take the burden off of the survivors and onto those who have abused and assaulted. Sometimes, it only takes two words to create change.