The viral #MeToo hashtag shows just how widespread sexual harassment and assault is

More celebs shared their experiences, too.

By: Jessica Chandra

While the recent scandal involving film executive Harvey Weinstein mostly pertains to celebrities and people in Hollywood, sexual harassment and sexual assault most definitely does not. In fact, it happens so often that it also seems normalised, because like these famous women, regular people have been too afraid or ashamed to share their stories publicly.

This is how the #MeToo social media hashtag came about. It was started by actress Alyssa Milano — who is actually very outspoken on Twitter — with this message.

(Alyssa also worked with Rose McGowan, one of the actresses personally linked to Weinstein, on Charmed.)

Well, if the aim of #MeToo was to highlight exactly how prevalent sexual harassment and assault is, it did its job, with the hashtag getting tweeted over 500,000 times in 24 hours.

Here’s an example of the stories the hashtag brought about — there were also plenty of words of encouragement for people who didn’t want to share their experiences.

There were heaps of celebrities who supported #MeToo on social media as well, including Evan Rachel Wood (who has spoken about being raped twice), Lady Gaga and Sarah Hyland.

In response to all the tweets, another hashtag started trending: #IBelieveYou.

Hopefully, this becomes more than just a social media movement, and helps bring about real change — so that sexual predators are punished accordingly for their crimes, and women don’t feel it’s their fault when horrible things happen to them.