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‘Me Too’ movement opens door for sexual misconduct conversations

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WEB EXCLUSIVE

“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” actress Alyssa Milano tweeted out on Oct. 15.  She never could have expected the mass outpouring of “me too”s.

Though this post was less than the 140-character limit of tweets, women responded to this rallying cry, each response a testimony of pain, defilement and humiliation. Men responded, as well, to speak out about their own experiences with assault and to offer their sympathy to the women who replied to the post.

The number of women who tagged posts with “#metoo” quickly escalated, with 500,000 retweets and posts in a day, and one million posts two days. The tweet spread to other social media sites, from Facebook, to Snapchat, to Instagram, garnering more than 12 million posts across all platforms in a week.

Why did this small tweet become such a big deal?

The #metoo movement has changed the course of how assault is handled, on account of the sheer number of women who have spoken up. Oftentimes, traumatic events such as sexual assault are repressed, for various reasons.

Sexual assault has plagued women throughout history; to this day, it still remains a problem that is largely ignored. Every day, the news buzzes about politics, pregnant celebrities or cataclysmic weather events, and yet accounts of harassment, rape, abuse and battery go largely ignored. That is, until now.

Stories have trickled out for years about celebrities and ordinary people, but the recent flood of them is unprecedented. Why has it happened now, of all times?

It’s the press.

It was the New York Times that broke the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, leading to the bigger conversation about sexual harassment and assault we are having today. Countless other publications have devoted time and resources to this topic. The power of reporting has put these stories in the spotlight.

Now more than ever, society has grown more tolerant of discussion of previously taboo topics such as sexual misconduct. Hence, when such revelations are published in papers, these cases are listened to and understood more clearly than at any other time in the nation’s history.

Victims are making themselves heard. They are bringing a problematic issue into light, at long last.

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‘Me Too’ movement opens door for sexual misconduct conversations