On October 16, the #MeToo hashtag was used in over 100,000 tweets, in just a single day, while tens thousands of other posts on Facebook were following the same hashtag all over the world.
The idea is to share the personal stories of sexual harassment that women have been facing. With a very high number of women using the hashtag, the magnitude of the problem can be gauged, and it is alarming.
Started by Alyssa Milano, #MeToo has been trending online, providing women a platform to tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault.
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
The phrase had been used more than 200,000 times by October 15, and tweeted more than 500,000 times by October 16, resulting in more than 6 million discussions about sexual abuse and harassment.
— xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga) October 15, 2017
Closer home, women have been sharing their disturbing experiences of sexual harassment at the hands of strange men, women, and those who they were related to. A huge number of tweets and posts speak of harassment by men who are members of the family or close to the family.
In a series of tweets, the owner of a famous Bar ‘High Spirits’ in Pune was called out by hundreds of girls who claimed that the man had repeatedly harrassed and molested the girls frequenting his club, who, according to them, would grab them from behind, ‘pinch their bottoms’, and ‘rate them’.
For over a decade, The High Spirits Cafe has been one of Pune’s most popular hangouts, and a regular haunt for the city’s youth. Earlier this week, however, its sheen started coming off when writer Sheena Dabholkar started tweeting about alleged incidents of harassment that she had both seen and been through at the bar over the years.
According to Dabholkar, women have to face everything from sexist comments to physical harassment at the hands of the owners and their friends.
As Dabholkar continued tweeting about her experiences, multiple others weighed in with similar incidents of harassment that they, or someone they knew, had been through there.
In an article published in the Guardian, #MeToo named the victims. Now, let’s list the perpetrators, the author writes, “At first I didn’t understand what made me so uncomfortable about #MeToo – after all, the more women sharing their stories and raising their voices, the better. And though we all know the statistics around sexual violence, it can be easy to think of these things in terms of numbers rather than people. So why not humanize the issue?
Then I realized: we’ve done this so many times before. Told our stories, raised our hands. Do we really need to bleed ourselves dry once again? How many times will we need to lay our traumas bare in the hope that this will finally be the time people care enough to do something about it?”
Last night, Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote:
I’d love to see a hashtag in which people name a specific action they now commit to take to to combat sexual harassment/assault. #IWill
— Tamara Cofman Wittes (@tcwittes) October 16, 2017
She’s since been retweeting the replies. It’s an encouraging series of tweets, even if the only real-world consequences are that a few more people will be alert to signs of sexual harassment in their industries and social circles.
Some of the notable celebrities who spoke out against sexual harassment are:
1. Gretchen Carlson
2. Sheryl Crow
3. Viola Davis
4. Rosario Dawson
5. Lady Gaga
6. Sarah Hyland
7. Monica Lewinsky
8. Debra Messing
9. Alyssa Milano
10. Javier Muñoz
11. Ashleigh Murray
12. Anna Paquin
13. Pauley Perrette
14. Busy Philipps
15. Anika Noni Rose
16. Gabrielle Union
17. Evan Rachel Wood