The allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein have prompted women around the world to share experiences of sexual harassment and assault on social media to end a culture of silence.
It began when the actress Alyssa Milano posted a tweet on the 15th of October with the hashtag #MeToo.
That initial tweet has motivated thousands of women to share their stories of catcalling, harassment, assault and rape, often in the workplace. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
Actresses such as Patricia Arquette, Viola Davis, Debra Messing and many more shared the tweet and hashtag. The movement also prompted men to share their own stories of assault, with actor Javier Muñoz’s tweet going viral.
The online campaign has amassed thousands of tweets and stories and has now expanded to various other countries and languages. French women have started tweeting with the hashtag #balancetonporc - literally meaning “snitch out your pig”, with journalist Sandra Muller asking French women to tell their stories of sexual harassment or assault at the workplace.This campaign has had such an effect that France is considering putting fines on catcalling.
Sandra Muller’s tweet:
The Italian actress Asia Argento launched the Italian equivalent of #MeToo: #QuellaVoltaChe, meaning “that time when…”. She posted a tweet explaining how a director exposed himself when she was only sixteen years old. The tweet has since motivated Italian women to share their stories as well.
Women in Italy have been sharing tweets about issues they have had to deal with when reporting sexual assault to the police, such as this woman: “#thattimewhen I reported it and they told me: ‘Madam, are you sure? You know that reporting it makes it a big deal?’ and afterwards nothing happened.”
Finally, the latest version of #MeToo is a direct translation in Spanish: #YoTambien. Lawyer Estefanía Palomino shared the spanish version of Alyssa Milano’s tweet: “#yotambien Si todas las mujeres que han sido sexualmente acosadas escribieran "yo también", podríamos dar una idea del problema.”
This Spanish professor sums up the overall feeling being shared by women all over the world: “#MeToo #YoTambien I have been harassed many times. I didn’t know what to do. It became normal. I stayed silent. Not anymore. We are many. We are strong.”
Harassment is one of many factors that contribute to a gender gap in the workplace. The economic gap between men and women won’t close for another 170 years, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report.