By Sonia Elks
LONDON, Oct 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A crowdfunding appeal launched in response to the #MeToo movement has paid out more than a million pounds ($1.32 million) to British charities fighting sexual harassment and abuse.
Organisers at the Justice and Equality Fund called for more donations as they announced the payouts, a year after the #MeToo campaign first swept the internet.
"We are just at the start," said Samantha Rennie, executive director of women's funding group Rosa, which organised the project. "The more people, companies and organisations that stand up and show their solidarity by giving to the fund, the quicker we will succeed."
The #MeToo campaign spread across social media a year ago as women came forward with a slew of allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in a scandal that sparked a wider, global debate over sexual abuse and harassment.
It led to the creation the Justice and Equality Fund in February, backed by high-profile actors including "Harry Potter" star Emma Watson and Keira Knightley, who played a fanatical footballer in her breakthrough movie "Bend It Like Beckham".
Watson put a million pounds into the fund and on Thursday hailed the campaign as a step towards "systemic change".
"This year is just the beginning," she said in a statement.
Rosa said it had received an extra million from the Comic Relief charity, bringing the total pot to 2.7 million pounds.
Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland was one of the biggest recipients, saying it would use the 200,000 pounds to re-establish a rape crisis centre, 12 years after it had shut.
"To be able to fund the first rape crisis service provision in Northern Ireland for 12 years feels like a huge step forward," said Knightley in a statement.
"I hope we can continue to raise funds to support more of the frontline organisations doing such critical work with women and girls."
Other charities to benefit include a legal advice line Rights of Women, the Scottish Women's Rights Centre and the London Black Women's Project.
($1 = 0.7555 pounds)
(Reporting by Sonia Elks; Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, resilience and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories.)
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