#Metoo surge of women's voices marks milestone

by Ellen Wulfhorst | @EJWulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 12 October 2018 10:39 GMT

A vendor sells #MeToo badges a protest march for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California U.S. November 12, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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#Metoo has revealed the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault and put men's behavior under scrutiny

By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #Metoo movement of women speaking out about sexual violence has transformed perceptions of women as survivors, lifted veils of shame and stigma, empowered women to come forward, revealed the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault and put men's behavior under scrutiny, observers say.

Here are some key developments:

* Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein, accusations against whom opened the floodgates of #Metoo, faces sexual assault charges in a New York case involving two women. The producer behind such hit movies as "Shakespeare in Love," "Pulp Fiction" and "The Crying Game" has pleaded not guilty and is seeking to have the charges dismissed.

* As #Metoo spread around the world, it was named #BalanceTonPorc or "expose your pig" in France and #QuellaVoltaChe or "that time when" in Italy.

* An online fund-raising campaign set up in the wake of #Metoo by British actresses including Emma Watson, Keira Knightley and Jodie Whittaker has given out more than 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) to women's groups supporting survivors of sexual harassment.

* One in three U.S. business executives say they have changed their behavior in the wake of #Metoo to avoid doing anything perceived as sexual harassment, according to research by the Society for Human Resources Management, a professional association. It said it found more than a third of Americans still think their workplace fosters sexual harassment.

* The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission government agency filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 with allegations of sexual harassment, in fiscal year 2018, based on preliminary data. It said that number reflected more than a 50 percent increase in such cases over fiscal year 2017. The EEOC also said it recovered nearly $70 million for victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement in fiscal year 2018, up from $47.5 million the previous year.

* More than 800 high-profile public figures in entertainment, politics, government, media and academia have been accused of sexual misconduct since actor Bill Cosby was arrested in December 2015 on sexual assault charges in Pennsylvania, according to Temin and Co. management consultants. Cosby has since been found guilty and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

* The legal defense fund for the Time's Up effort to fight workplace sexual harassment has been contacted by more than 3,500 women and men in 60 different types of workplaces including retail, restaurants, construction and offices. About two-thirds of those workers are classified as low income, it said.

* A report by the Women's Media Center, a non-profit U.S. group promoting women in the media, found the number of articles on sexual assault was up more than 30 percent at the end of August 2018 compared with May 2017. ($1 = 0.7564 pounds) (Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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