#MeToo has become a wake-up call, or a (re)statement of the obvious — depending on whom you talk to.
The social-media movement, started Sunday by actress Alyssa Milano in response to the Harvey Weinstein sexual-harassment scandal, has Philadelphia-area women, and some men, posting about their experiences of harassment and assault with the hashtag #metoo.
As of Monday morning, half a million people had shared stories via Twitter, giving root to a campaign that is drawing support from other women, and motivating men to assess their role — complicit or otherwise.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
Left a past job due to harassment. I reported it, they made me work alone at night with my harasser & told me it was my fault. #metoo
— Jamie Smith (@JamieMoore_) October 16, 2017
#MeToo. Cornered freshman year of high school. Drugged freshman year of college. Touched/harassed too many other times to count.
— Kristen Kurtis (@kristenkurtis) October 16, 2017
But the stories shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, said Laura Blanchard, 69, of Philadelphia.
“Very little of this is actually about sex — it’s about power,” said Blanchard, who tweeted her experience of waking on the sofa to an intruder covering her mouth and lying on top of her in the early ’70s. She successfully fought him off, screaming and kicking.
I was awakened at 4am by the touch of an intruder (I fought him off). No shame in retelling. There’s been other stuff. #metoo
— Laura Blanchard (@lbphilly) October 16, 2017
Blanchard has a nickname for men who harass or assault women: “Creepazoid.”
I was 16. My middle aged male boss harassed me. I never talk about it. He wasn’t the last. #metoo
— Spooky Jellyfish 🎃 (@lemurchild) October 16, 2017
Many people said they weren’t surprised how the movement had caught on, given how many people they know who have experienced some sort of harassment in their lives. (A 2015 survey found that one in three women have been harassed in the workplace.) It’s also not the first hashtag of its kind. In 2014, the hashtag #YesAllWomen started to raise awareness of misogyny and violence against women.
#ShePersisted started trending after the Senate voted to stop Sen. Elizabeth Warren from speaking in objection to the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general, and #NastyWoman became a rallying call after presidential candidate Donald Trump referred to Hillary Clinton that way during the campaign.
Harassment and assault stories ranged from politics to restaurants to disparaging ex-boyfriends.
— Morgan Zalot (@morganzalot) October 16, 2017
There’s also been a call for flipping the movement on its head — why put the onus on the victims to shine a light on the problem? Some suggested a more powerful statement could come from people who failed to act: #istoodby.
Though the hashtag is bringing thousands of stories out into the open, some said they wouldn’t share publicly what they’d been through but posted in solidarity all the same.
— Sara Goldrick-Rab (@saragoldrickrab) October 16, 2017