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

It's much bigger than Harvey Weinstein.

Oct 16 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."