She took the idea to Twitter, posting: “If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
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That was Sunday night. By Monday night, more than 53,000 people had left comments and thousands of women had declared “Me Too,” sharing their stories of rape, sexual assault and harassment across social media, including some for the first time.
Milano said the idea was to elevate the Harvey Weinstein conversation, placing the emphasis on victims rather than perpetrators and offering a glimpse into the number of women who continue to be victimized. The disgraced film mogul has been accused by more than three dozen women of harassment or abuse.
“My hope is people will get the idea of the magnitude, of just how many people have been affected by this in the world, in our lifetimes, in this country,” Milano said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Monday. “The most important thing that it did was to shift the conversation away from the predator and to the victim.”
Lauren Taylor hopes “Me Too” grows into something more than a passing hashtag. She shared her own story as well.
Growing up in Washington, DC, she recalled near daily street harassment, from men yelling vile things at out of car windows to boys chasing her as she rode her bike. A longtime women’s activist, the 60-year-old Taylor founded a training organization 20 years ago called Defend Yourself, helping women learn “empowerment defense” to ward off physical and emotional attacks in all aspects of their lives.
“The ‘Me Too’ thing has had a transformative affect that is more complex than people probably thought in the beginning,” Taylor said. “Women are disclosing that they have been harassed, attacked or abused, sometimes for the first time, and if it is not for the first time, it is for the first time this publicly. The sheer number are unbelievable, and a lot of men are saying, ‘Really, that many?’”
From New York where she now lives, 30-year-old Texan Aly Tadros added her voice on Facebook.
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