The beginning of October saw the film giant Harvey Weinstein face allegations of sexual assault, harassment and rape. Hollywood royalty came forward, stars such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow alleged the film mogul harassed them. Actress Alyssa Milano took to Twitter to say she has faced sexual harassment with #MeToo.

She urged anyone who has faced sexual harassment or assault to share the post publicly and encourage others to do the same. It was to show the sheer magnitude of the problem, and within 24 hours millions of women and men had taken to #Social media to make a stand against sexual abuse and say #MeToo.

It didn’t start with Milano

The origin of the #MeToo campaign was the brainchild of Tarana Burke who is the director of Girls for Gender Equality.

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The movement started over 10 years ago after Burke came face to face with an abused little girl and she didn’t have the courage to say that the same thing had happened to her. Burke couldn’t utter the words ‘me too’. She knew this had to change and that no one should feel alone or unsupported.

The day #MeToo took over social media

Within days, social media was awash with victims saying #MeToo. Those in and out of the public eye united to take a stand and show the #World the problem still exists in society today. Stars such as Gaga, Bjork took to Twitter to #MeToo. It isn’t just women in this campaign, it is men as well and they have bravely spoken up.

Every day, we all use social media in one form or another, to check news, emails, to work, to communicate.

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It has now given victims a voice, a platform to share and talk about their experiences and most of all highlight the problem to the world. Those who haven’t been able to before are now empowered and given the confidence by other victims to stand with them - to open a conversation that so far has fallen on deaf ears. One thing social media has taught us is that it is an invaluable tool in raising awareness - for showcasing the change that is needed, for standing up and demanding change for future generations, for daughters and sons to not have to put up with the injustice and inequality. Trending via social media has already shown how millions across the world band together and demand change. Earlier this year many took to the streets to march for women’s rights, with social media being responsible for promoting the event and forcing us to have the conversations we need to be having.

They thought they were untouchable

Since the cases of Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, and many more it was clear from victims retelling their haunting experiences that the perpetrators believed they were untouchable.

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Saville and Harris lived in an age where they were worshipped liked gods. To go against a powerhouse like that would ultimately mean trouble for the victim. They would have her character and reputation tarnished, she would be made to feel ashamed like it was their fault, a stigma which has changed somewhat but does still exist today. Comments like ‘they were asking for it dressed like that’, ‘they slept around’, are common judgements of a victim. It was never questioned back in the day and put down to ‘men behaving badly’, but no one deserved to be degraded, harassed or assaulted. Consent should be respected, regardless of the circumstances leading up to it. Celebrities have countless resources at their disposable, so why would anyone think they would win against that? The allegations that were made about decades-old assaults are as valid as ones that happen today. You may ask why they didn’t report it at the time, but there is, likely a dozen reasons. Only a small percentage of men even get as far as reporting a sexual crime. The judicial process for a successful conviction is a difficult journey to undertake - never mind actually winning. Those who have come forward with past attacks do not have the forensic evidence that is normally needed. Most will face a backlash normally from the media of ‘selling their story’ for misplaced glory and fame. With such high-profile celebrities now being trialled, it is a message to say no matter what your background or your influence you will be held accountable. They are no longer as untouchable as they once were.

The symbol of hope for the future?

The #MeToo campaign doesn’t show any signs of stopping with more people coming forward, seeking legal advice and sharing their experiences. Some hashtags do not tend to last very long and will be extinct in a couple of days, but this is not the case with #MeToo. It isn’t a fad or a trend, this is the symbol of change for the future. It is a point in history where we will look back and see, this is what caused the change, this is where voices were finally heard. This is hope and justice for everyone, this is the beginning of generation altering change. #Sexual Assault