A social media campaign reinforces America’s pervasive problem with sexual harassment
Recent allegations about producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassing dozens of women, coupled with further stories about rampant sexism in Hollywood, quickly led to the “Me too” movement.
It took hold last Sunday, Oct. 15, when actress Alyssa Milano suggested those who’ve experienced unwanted sexual advances post the words as their status as a way to bring awareness to the scope of the problem. In response, thousands of everyday people, mostly women, repeated the two words, sometimes accompanied by a harrowing tale of sexual assault or harassment. The ubiquity of the phrase reinforces what many of us already knew: that this type of behavior remains pervasive in the United States in 2017.
In response to the outcry, a group composed of powerful California women signed onto a public letter noting that sexual harassment is commonplace in “every industry and facet of our society.” Among other things, the piece shares the reasons why many women don’t speak up about it: feelings of powerlessness, shame and fear of retaliation, including being held back professionally or outright blacklisted.
The letter calls on women to continue to share their stories, including on a website for which the group is seeking submissions (go to wesaidenough.com to learn more). It also calls on those in positions of power to speak up and to take measurable action, such as working with companies led by women, and those that treat their female employees respectfully. The group also coined an apt phrase: “Enough.”