Star’s Tweet Reignites #MeToo Movement
According to a recent study by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, up to 95 percent of workplace sexual harassment victims never file a formal complaint. Considering that thousands of formal complaints are filed every year, this means countless other victims suffer silently. If that number sounds outrageously high, take a look at the posts that have been flooding Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets in recent weeks. Chances are good that you will find countless examples of sexual harassment and assault that have gone unreported before now—many of them from family members and others in your social circles.
Such posts were prompted, in large part, by a single tweet from actress Alyssa Milano who expressed her feelings in the wake of accusations against famed film producer Harvey Weinstein. In her Twitter post, Milano encouraged women who have been sexually assaulted or harassed to reply, “Me too.” Within hours, the responses began to flood social media, and Milano herself replied to her own post with a “Me too.” Women from all walks of life—including numerous other high-profile actresses and entertainers—started sharing their stories of sexual harassment, most of them marked with the trend-tracking hashtag #MeToo.
An Unintentional Revival
While Milano’s post set off wave after wave of troubling stories, the #MeToo campaign traces its origins back to 2007—before hashtags were even popular. It began as a grass-roots way for sexual assault survivors to support one another, particularly in underprivileged communities. The original creator of the movement, an African American advocate for victims of sexual harassment and assault named Tarana Burke, never meant for “Me Too” to become a viral campaign. Instead, it was meant as a message of support between survivors.
Alyssa Milano’s follow-up posts suggested that she was unaware of the original movement and that her request coincidentally used the same two words. She posted a link to Burke’s story, effectively linking the two efforts into a single campaign to speak out against inappropriate sexual behavior.
The Importance of Coming Forward
In the weeks since the allegations against Weinstein were made public, there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of accusations leveled against many other entertainment figures. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is not limited to Hollywood parties and casting calls. Sexual harassment occurs on a daily basis at workplaces in every city, town, and neighborhood. There is a good possibility that someone you know will be harassed at work today, but until that person speaks out, nothing can be done to hold the harasser or harassers accountable.
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we take sexual harassment very seriously. If you have been the victim of unwanted touching, inappropriate comments, sexual advances, or a hostile work environment, we can help. Contact one of our compassionate Illinois sexual harassment attorneys for guidance. Call 630-665-7300 for a completely confidential initial consultation today.