Thousands of women are responding to actress Alyssa Milano’s call to tweet “me too” to raise awareness of sexual harassment and assault following the recent revelation of decades of allegations of sexual misconduct by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. But an ancillary movement is also gaining attention whereby abusers are being called upon to own up to their actions.
Milano suggested women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted post the message on Twitter on Sunday. The call to action quickly trended, with notable names like Lady Gaga, Monica Lewinsky and Rosario Dawson identifying themselves as victims. Others shared personal stories.
Also tweeting in support was Milano’s former co-star on TV’s “Charmed,” Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of raping her.
Milano called the Weinstein allegations “disturbing” in an essay last week, but added that the issue was complicated for her because she is friends with Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman.
While the #MeToo movement encourages people to speak out about their experience, some people are questioning why the onus is being placed on the victims to share their stories, rather than the offenders to publicly come clean for their past wrongdoings. Farrah Khan, Sexual Violence Support and Education Coordinator at Ryerson University, suggests that perpetrators should be coming forward and owning up.
According to women’s advocate Deepa Mathoo, with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic in Toronto, speaking out against sexual violence can be daunting and intimidating, especially when the abuse is happening in the workplace. “You know it can have an adversarial impact on your income and that sometimes is the life source for people,” Mathoo told CityNews in an interview last week.