Step 2 Part 1 Fact Sheet 9: Sexual Harrassment: #MeToo

Sexual Harassment: #MeToo

Despite improvements in legislation, not all problems were solved, as we can see in the starter clip about the subject of sexual harassment.

The Me Too (or #MeToo) movement, with a large variety of local and international names, is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. Sexual harassment survivor and activist Tarana Burke initially used the phrase “Me Too” in this context on social media in 2006, on MySpace.

Similar to other social justice and empowerment movements based upon breaking silence, the purpose of “Me Too” is to empower women through empathy and strength in numbers, especially young and vulnerable women, by visibly demonstrating how many women have survived sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

Following the exposure of the widespread sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein in early October 2017, the movement began to spread virally as a hashtag on social media. On October 15, 2017, American actress Alyssa Milano posted on Twitter: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote 'Me Too' as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” saying that she got the idea from a friend. A number of high-profile posts and responses from American celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, Jennifer Lawrence, and Uma Thurman, among others, soon followed. 

After millions of people started using the phrase and hashtag in this manner, it spread to dozens of other languages and countries. 

In her acceptance speech during the Golden Globe festivities, actress Michelle Williams made a strong plea (video) for the right of women to choose freely on any subject. 

In February 2020, Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape at a New York trial.