Over the weekend, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged women to tweet the hashtag #MeToo if they had ever been sexually harassed, assaulted, or abused - and by Tuesday morning it was trending in the top spot in South Africa.
The hashtag is in response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal that revealed Hollywood’s deep sexual harassment problem. Weinstein, one of the most influential producers in the industry, was found by The New York Times
to have covered up three decades of sexual harassment allegations.The New Yorker
subsequently published a recording of Weinstein admitting he had groped an Italian model. He then begged her to watch him shower.
In an effort to broaden the discussion, Milano began #MeToo as a way to prove that the issue is endemic to not just one industry, but society as a whole.
The tag was quickly picked up, and was widely popular in South Africa, where women face a high rate of sexual assault.
Though most welcomed the tag as a means to have their stories heard, others didn’t want to perform their trauma for people on Twitter so that a problem could be understood.