If you have accounts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, chances are you've heard of the "Me Too" social media movement. The movement quickly went viral after actress Alyssa Milano shared it on Twitter. So far, the movement has reached millions of people in at least 85 countries. According to Twitter, almost 2 million tweets included the #MeToo hashtag.
The hashtag exploded in popularity after dozens of women made sexual assault and harassment accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. After the controversy began, Milano shared a tweet on October 15th. The tweet said that people should post "me too" if they've been sexually harassed or assaulted. The purpose of the movement is to show the magnitude of the issue.
While the #MeToo movement only recently became popular, it was actually started 10 years ago by Tarana Burke, a black female activist. In an interview, Burke wanted young women of color who had endured sexual assault to know they aren't alone. She didn't intend the hashtag to go viral and be "here today and forgotten tomorrow." Rather, she intended "me too" to be a catchphrases that survivors could use to let others know that they aren't alone.
Gloria Allred on the movement
According to Gloria Allred, the allegations against Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement have caused an incredibly important conversation to arise about the problem of sexual harassment and assault in our society. Ms. Allred says speaking out is an important first step to take, but that it is also extremely important for women assert their legal rights. These include the right to compensation for any therapy, medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Ms. Allred and Allred, Maroko & Goldberg have assisted multiple victims of Mr. Weinstein in speaking out publicly, including through press conferences, to amplify their voices in the growing #MeToo movement. Our firm is also representing numerous accusers in their legal proceedings.
In today's society, the cost of sexual harassment is largely borne by the victim rather than wrongdoer. Allred says it is necessary for women to take legal action to ensure that the wrongdoers bear the cost of victimizing.
Legislation to protect sexual harassment victims
In response to the #MeToo movement, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier intends to introduce legislation that will make it easier for victims to report sexual harassment. The Congresswoman noted that sexual harassment in Capitol Hill is a huge issue, but few women report it due to fear of repercussions.
Undoubtedly, the #MeToo hashtag has sparked a national conversation about sexual harassment and assault. This social media movement has empowered and immobilized women to stand up and refuse to let abusers go unpunished.