#MeToo prompts thousands around the world to join movement against sexual assault
This week you might have seen people using the hashtag #MeToo on social media to share their personal stories of sexual harassment and assault.
Although the hashtag has existed for years, the recent outpouring started in response to actresses like Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Alyssa Milano speaking out about harassment in the film industry. It has now been used more than 500,000 times on Twitter to show just how many women face this sort of abuse – not just in Hollywood but around the world.
Brave people are not just sharing their stories, they are also turning to Change.org to take action; calling on institutions to help combat the problem of sexual harassment and assault. A movement is growing on the platform with over 1 million people signing petitions in countries around the world, including the US, France and Australia.
In the UK one of the people leading this movement is Ceri Jenkins, who is campaigning for the Police to take sexual harassment seriously in the UK. Unhappy with how normal it has become for her to hear reports of friends being followed home, touched inappropriately or threatened with rape, she’s calling for the Crown Prosecution Service to make this kind of abuse against women a “hate crime” — making it punishable in England.
” I have heard too many stories from my friends of their experiences of sexual harassment. Just recently one told me how she was threatened with rape walking home, another told me at 13 she got so scared by harassment on the school bus she refused to take it again. These stories are awful but not unusual, almost everyone I know has one. It worries me is that as a society we’ve come to think of incidents like this as ‘normal’. “
Since she started the campaign 67,000 thousand people have added their name, with thousands joining in the last 24 hours.
Ceri’s hope, along with many others, is that the outpouring of brave women speaking out on social media will turn into real change, that can finally begin to tackle this abuse in the UK and around the world.
You can view the #MeToo movement here.
You can sign Ceri’s petition here.