Editor’s note: This article has been updated.
Thousands of women, and some men, have responded “me too” to actress Alyssa Milano’s Twitter prompt on sexual abuse in light of longstanding and emerging allegations against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein.
By Monday, more than 40,000 people had replied to Milano’s Sunday prompt for followers to tweet “me too” if they had been sexually harassed or assaulted. Although Milano was credited with the recent virality of the #MeToo hashtag, the phrase was first introduced in 2006 by Tarana Burke as part of her work to help women and girls who had experienced sexual violence.
Many Christian survivors participated in the renewed #MeToo campaign, along with others who thought it was important to voice their support.
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
Here is a round-up of what some have shared about sexual abuse and harassment:
Keep thinking about #MeToo. Christian men in authority, I pray you are paying attention. It isn't out there. It's here. It's in the church.
— Trillia Newbell (@trillianewbell) October 16, 2017
It fundamentally altered my view of myself, my ability and my capacity to be in healthy intimate relationships. #MeToo
— Rozella Haydée White (@lovebigcoach) October 16, 2017
Most times I try to keep it out of my mind. Try to tell myself I'll be stronger if it ever happens again. #MeToo
— Gena Ruocco Thomas (@genaLRthomas) October 16, 2017
Sexual assault and harassment are about power. Period. I am not a victim. I am a fighter. #MeToo
— Stephanie M. Hughes (@SRMHughes) October 16, 2017
#MeToo. Starting in high school. So many examples of being objectified w/ the concurrent shame of wondering if I somehow was at fault.
— Helen Lee (@HelenLeeBooks) October 16, 2017
A well meaning mentor told me at 25 that people couldn't handle hearing about sexual abuse and it would sink my ministry. It didn't. #MeToo
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) October 16, 2017
Can't say #metoo, but I have been haunted for decades by the reality that precious souls I know & love have been raped & molested. So sorry????
— Kyle J. Howard (@KyleJamesHoward) October 16, 2017
The #MeToo stories are heartbreaking. I wish I could say it's shocking.
I believe you.
— Sam Won / 원영삼 (@SamObiWon) October 16, 2017
I was his forth victim… They kept moving him from church to church to avoid charges being pressed …. Unfortunately #MeToo
— So_a_king ???????? (@solomonmissouri) October 16, 2017
To all the brave souls saying "me too," thank you & so sorry. How many also experienced sexual harassment in the church? #metoo #inthechurch
— CBE International (@CBEInt) October 16, 2017
To the (far too many) women who shared a #MeToo post, thank you for your courage. I see you. I believe you. I will speak out on your behalf
— Tyler Burns (@burnsclan_) October 16, 2017
Not ready to tell the other stories. Yet.
— Kristie Anyabwile (@kanyabwile) October 15, 2017
I wrote this nearly a year ago. It's perfectly relevant today. #MeToo https://t.co/Ty7S0ulvSf
— Shannon Dingle, M.A.Ed. (@ShannonDingle) October 16, 2017
The #MeToo hashtag may have been inspired by revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual predatory behavior over his 30-year career, but other examples of men in powerful positions preying on women have emerged in recent years.
Some examples include Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes Bill Cosby and even President Donald Trump, who was heard on an infamous “Hollywood Access” tape bragging about sexually assaulting women.
“Most troubling is how many of these accusations have been bubbling under the surface for years before the perpetrators suffered any consequences at all,” writes the Rev. Kira Schlesinger at Ministry Matters.
She adds: “The diversity of the stories of people who have experienced sexual harassment or assault shows that this is not a partisan issue. Conservatives and liberals, rural and urban, religious and non-religious, sexual harassment and assault cross every boundary. It happens on college campuses, in the workplace, on the street, and, yes, in church. Wherever there are those wielding power over others, there is the potential for sexual harassment and abuse.”
Photo by Sole Treadmill