Alyssa Milano was in bed with her two young children when a friend of a friend on Facebook suggested something that struck her as a great way to elevate the Harvey Weinstein conversation. She took the idea to Twitter, posting: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
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.
The hashtag was tweeted nearly a million times in 48 hours, according to Twitter. Some left it at, simply: “Me Too,” without explanation, and a small contingent of men have posted: “I Have,” noting shock at the groundswell and remorse for their own past misdeeds 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.”
The posts have gathered steam beyond Twitter. On Facebook, there were more than 12 million posts, comments and reactions in less than 24 hours, by 4.7 million users around the world, according to the company. In the U.S., Facebook said 45 percent of users have had friends who posted “me too.”
A similar social media trend emerged in 2014. “Yesallwomen” posts also had women talking about their experiences with sexual harassment and sexism. While Twitter had fewer users in 2014, this hashtag was tweeted 1.2 million times in four days. Additionally, Tarana Burke, a youth activist, started a “Me Too” campaign in 2007 to let other sex abuse survivors know that they were not alone.
Lauren Taylor hopes “Me Too” grows into something more than a passing hashtag. She shared her own story as well.
Growing up in Washington, D.C., 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…