women are using #metoo to demonstrate the magnitude of sexual assault

It's much bigger than Harvey Weinstein.

by Hannah Ongley
16 October 2017, 4:48pm

As director Sarah Polley aptly put it in a New York Times op-ed yesterday, "Harvey Weinstein may be the central-casting version of a Hollywood predator, but he was just one festering pustule in a diseased industry." Women are now demonstrating the true pervasiveness of rape culture by tweeting their own experiences along with the hashtag #MeToo. The stories are being shared in response to a tweet from Alyssa Milano — a close friend and co-star of Rose McGowan, one of Harvey Weinstein's most outspoken detractors — but they are by no means limited to Hollywood.

"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," wrote Milano on Sunday, saying the idea was suggested by a friend. Milano is also friends with Weinstein's wife Georgina Chapman. Last week she described herself in a blog post as "sickened and angered" by Weinstein's actions, and said her previous silence was purely out of respect for her friend.

The hashtag #MeToo has now been used over 200,000 times, including by celebrities Evan Rachel Wood, Anna Paquin, and Lady Gaga. "Because I was shamed and considered a "party girl" I felt I deserved it," wrote Wood. "I shouldn't have been there, I shouldn't have been "bad" #metoo." Men and members of the LGBTQ community have also added their voices to the rape culture outrage. "I don't know if means anything coming from a gay man but it's happened," wrote Hamilton actor Javier Muñoz. "Multiple times."

#MeToo is just one of the ways in which women are using social media to make their voices — and their silence — heard. #WomenBoycottTwitter was trending heavily last week as people signed off the platform to protest the suspension of McGowan's account. In response, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (again) pledged to take a more aggressive stance in combating abuse. "Twitter is proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power," Dorsey wrote in a statement. "We stand with the brave women and men who use Twitter to share their stories, and will work hard every day to improve our processes to protect those voices."

Rose McGowan
sexual assault
alyssa milano
Harvey Weinstein