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Me Too: Victims Of Sexual Assault Are Speaking Up

By Chidirim Ndeche 16 October 2017   |   12:32 pm

A simple Twitter request has become a top trending topic, giving victims of sexual assault a chance to speak up.

Actress Alyssa Milano made this request, asking women to respond “me too” if they have been sexually assaulted or harassed. She wrote:

“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

Throughout yesterday, over 27,000 people replied, making “#MeToo” the trending topic.

The intensity and breadth of the response underscored how the problem extends well beyond the rich and famous, affecting the everyday lives of women around the world.

In France, a similar campaign with the top-trending hashtag #balancetonporc (“Expose the pig”) saw women share their experiences of being sexually harassed at work or in the street.

It was started by Sandra Muller, a journalist who began the hashtag by recounting how her former boss had called her “my type of woman” and then commented on her breasts.

Many women in the US and France appeared to be speaking out for the first time about abuses they had suffered, often saying they had to overcome feelings of shame and embarrassment to do so.

These painful personal stories came amid a series of high-profile sex abuse scandals — the latest centred around powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. More than 20 women — a who’s who of Hollywood — have come forward to accuse Weinstein of rape, assault and sexual harassment. Weinstein, who insists any sexual encounters were consensual, was expelled this week from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Milano, probably best known for her role in the 1980s sitcom “Who’s the Boss”, is not among the accusers.

Some women using the #MeToo hashtag said they had been abused as children by relatives, or as a teenager by a person they trusted. That nobody believed them when they spoke about it emerged as a common refrain.

“I wish I could remember who I was before #MeToo,” a woman named Rosey wrote.

“Molested by a family member. Raped as a kid and an adult. Became a drug addict and then overcame. Don’t ever give up. I’m here. #MeToo,” Amy Christensen said in her post.

“Sexually assaulted by a military doctor at Lackland AFB. 1973,” said DebiDay, referring to a US Air Force base in Texas.

“Me, too. I spoke out. What did I learn? That no one, absolutely no one, would listen, much less help,” said Lisa Omlid.

“If you are not at the point where you can share your #MeToo I stand with you,” Kelly Douglas wrote. “Your story is valid whether you share it or not.”

There were many sympathetic responses from men.

Vinay Ramesh encouraged “all my fellow men to learn about #MeToo. The responsibility to stop sexual violence is absolutely on us.”

***AFP


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