#MeToo: Thousands of People Are Sharing Their Stories of Abuse or Harassment

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On Sunday, Alyssa Milano tweeted a suggestion that people who’ve been sexually assaulted or harassed share their stories with the hash tag #MeToo, to draw attention to the magnitude of the problem. The response in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein story has been overwhelming. Thousands of people on Twitter and Facebook shared their stories, while some simple posted “#MeToo” in a show of solidarity.

Many people were shocked by the number of women who’ve come forward with their stories about Weinstein. #MeToo shows how deep and insidious the problem really is.

I personally don’t know any women who haven’t experienced harassment or sexual assault or abuse in their lifetime. I was blown away by the responses, but not surprised by the numbers. As of Monday morning, there were hundreds of thousands of tweets.

Other people also used the hashtag to show support to those who were sharing their stories.

There are stories of rape, child abuse, sexual assault. Women sharing their experiences with being harassed in the workplace or catcalled walking down the street, groped in public and then laughed at when they spoke up. People sharing that they’ve been afraid to come forward, for fear of retribution or worse. Thousands and thousands and thousands of stories.

The focus has been on Harvey Weinstein for the last week, but #MeToo highlights how big of a problem this really is. It’s not just celebrities, it’s not other women. It’s everyone and all of us.

By and large, harassment and assault goes unreported. Or worse, it gets ignored or shrugged off. We’ve all heard that “boys will be boys” or “locker room talk” is totally fine. Meanwhile, women are staying silent for fear of being blamed for their own assaults. The stories being shared all over social media are just the tip of the iceberg, too. At this point, the floodgates have been opened. May the flood flush this horror out in the open, once and for all.

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(Image: iStock / Rawpixel; Twitter/@Alyssa_Milano)