In the wake of sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, tens of thousands of women are identifying themselves as victim of sexual harassment or assault. Celebrities and everyday people continued flooding social media with personal accounts of sexual assault and harassment on Monday, responding to calls to break the culture of silence around such abuse.
Women and some men shared their stories on social media under the hashtag #MeToo after actress Alyssa Milano posted a message on Twitter that said, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘Me too’ as a reply to this tweet, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Tens of thousands of people replied, making #MeToo the top trending topic.
The posts continued to accumulate on Monday, with the intensity of the social media response sharply underscoring the problem’s breadth — implicating fashion, entertainment, politics and the lives of everyday people. Monica Lewinsky, who was at the center of the White House sex scandal in the 1990s leading to the impeachment trial of former US President Bill Clinton, simply tweeted the hashtag #MeToo without comment.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood wrote as part of a series of tweets on her experience, “Being raped once made it easier to be raped again. I instinctually shut down. My body remembered, so it protected me. I disappeared. #MeToo.”
Hamilton star Javier Munoz tweeted, “Me too. I don’t know if it means anything coming from a gay man but it’s happened. Multiple times.” Milano’s former co-star on TV’s Charmed, Rose McGowan, tweeted in support of the campaign. McGowan had her Twitter account suspended after she accused Weinstein of raping her.
McGowan’s account was reinstated after the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter began trending.
Around The World
Italian actress Asia Argento, who has accused Weinstein of sexual abuse, offered another bombshell, saying a Hollywood director had raped her and that an Italian director had exposed himself to her when she was a minor.
“Hollywood big shot director with Napoleon complex gave me GHB (the “date rape” drug) and raped me unconscious. I was 26 years old,” she tweeted using the hashtag #quellavoltache, in remarks that sparked outrage in her home country.
Argento did not name either of the men she accused.
In France, the top-trending hashtag #balancetonporc, started by journalist Sandra Muller, brought forth stories from women of being sexually harassed at work or in the street.
Muller began the hashtag recounting how her former boss had called her “my type of woman” and then commented on her breasts.
In Britain, Labour MP Stella Creasy tweeted her own claims of harassment, “like millions of women & girls all around the world. Shame is on the attackers, not me.”
Similar stories spread in the Arab world, from Tunisia to Egypt and Dubai, describing incidents suffered by women at work or in public spaces, and denouncing “rape culture”. 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 last week from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.