A social media campaign featuring two simple words are uniting hundreds of thousands of victims of sexual harassment and assault.
Those words? Me too.
Actress Alyssa Milano began the movement to bring traction to society's prevalence of sexual misconduct.
If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write "˜me too' as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
"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 an interview with The Associated Press. "The most important thing that it did was to shift the conversation away from the predator and to the victim."
Within a few hours, individuals began flooding Facebook and Twitter with hundreds of thousand responses, showing both solidarity to the campaign and sharing their own harrowing experiences.
#MeToo— Najwa Zebian (@najwazebian) October 16, 2017
And I was blamed for it.
I was told not to talk about it.
I was told that it wasn't that bad.
I was told to get over it.
As a male childhood rape survivor who has gone public and had so many disclose to me, I promise: any rape stat you see is low. #MeToo— Barry Crimmins (@crimmins) October 15, 2017
However, critics have spoken out against the campaign, questioning if the media attention will indeed enforce a change.
look, #metoo. But if it wasn't until now/this hashtag that you suddenly believe/recognize the epidemic, you're purposeful about your denial.— Sarah Kay (@kaysarahsera) October 16, 2017
Wagatwe Wanjuki, a social media specialist for Daily Kos, said while she respects that many of her friends are feeling solidarity with the new campaign, it isn't empowering to her, in an interview with the Washington Post.
Wanjuki wrote her own post, detailing her reasoning from abstaining from the movement.
Others have suggested the #MeToo campaign shifts the responsibility from the culprits to the victims. In an article for the National Post, Jen Gerson criticizes the lack of accountability from the perpetrators.
"The problem is that it asks the victims of abuse to - once again - expose their own histories and pain to public view while demanding no accountability from the people who victimized them. It is the same old shifting of responsibility away from the people who bear the blame," Gerson writes.
While social activism has recently become more commonplace in the world of social media, many similar campaigns have been floating around for decades. Ten years ago, a movement also titled "Me Too" was formed by activist Tarana Burke, with the same goal to unify those victimized by sexual violence.