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Sexual harassment accusations prompt #MeToo social media movement

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Isabella Didio ’18

In light of recent accusations of sexual harassment by film producer Harvey Weinstein, the hashtag “#MeToo” has become a national tool that women are using to share their own stories of sexual abuse.

The social media movement took off after actress Alyssa Milano tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Since Milano posted this to her Twitter page on October 15, #MeToo has been tweeted over 1.7 million times in over 85 countries and has accumulated more than 12 million posts and comments on Facebook, according to CBS News.

Monique Østbye ’18, who was not surprised by the allegations against Weinstein, thinks that the #MeToo movement has highlighted the problem with sexual abuse, but is upset that is has taken so long for people to sympathize with one another.

“I think it has definitely brought the issue to the attention of the public and for sure personalized it for many, many years. I just think it’s disappointing that it’s taken this long for people to feel empathy for others,” Østbye said.

As a result of women sharing their stories, other prominent men, including journalist Mark Halperin, have been accused of sexual harassment.

Linda Sarsour, national co-chair of the Women’s March, said that “the conversation around sexual assault and violence against women, of course, puts some new energy into the movement.” Many agree, and Østbye wants people to continue to feel comfortable sharing their stories.

“I just hope that those who don’t share their stories for a multitude of reasons know that theirs are still valid. They shouldn’t feel ashamed or less than,” Østybe said.

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