If you’ve spent time on Facebook or Twitter in the past 24 hours, you may have noticed that a lot of women—are some men—are posting messages with the hashtag #MeToo. The idea is to make known just how many people are victims of sexual assault and harassment by urging those who have experienced it to talk publicly about it. Of course, that’s not always an easy thing to do, but there’s safety in numbers.
The hashtag was created by actress Alyssa Milano, who first posted it on the evening of October 15. “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,” she wrote.
Soon, celebrities including Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Messing, Anna Paquin, Rosario Dawson, Lady Gaga, and Hamilton star Javier Munoz joined in. According to Twitter, over 200,000 tweets with the hashtag have since been published. Allies and supporters have responded with #IBelieveYou, which is now also trending. The campaign comes in the wake of numerous sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Milano, who co-starred with Weinstein victim Rose McGowan on Charmed, is also close friends with Weinstein’s wife Georgina Chapman. “I’ve been asked a number of times to comment on the Harvey Weinstein scandal,” she wrote late week on her website, Patriot Not Partisan. “While I am sickened and angered over the disturbing accusations of Weinstein’s sexual predation and abuse of power, I’m happy—ecstatic even—that it has opened up a dialogue around the continued sexual harassment, objectification and degradation of women. To the women who have suffered any form of abuse of power, I stand beside you.”