Helen Keller, the famous author and political activist, once said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
For many years, women have suffered in silence after enduring sexual harassment and abuse, worrying that if they decided to fight back, they will have to fight alone. The #MeToo Movement has finally broken the silence about the issue, empowering women of all walks of life to speak out against their attackers.
Get to know the women who courageously took a stand against sexual harassment and violence, and used their fame to encourage women worldwide to do the same.
If you’ve seen the #MeToo hashtag, you’ve had a glimpse of Burke’s legacy. She was the first to coin the phrase “Me Too” in 2006, when it became the slogan of her non-profit organization’s campaign against sexual violence.
The Italian-American actress, famous for her role in the TV series Charmed, is credited with having popularized the #MeToo hashtag in October 2017 when she tweeted, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Overnight, her message garnered more than 30,000 replies. The hashtag quickly spread worldwide, encouraging both celebrities and average women to share their stories of abuse publicly. Since then, she’s been in talks with Tarana Burke in order to turn the movement into tangible help for women suffering the effects of abuse.
Right before Alyssa Milano sent her now famous #MeToo tweet, actress Ashley Judd told the New York Times that she had been harassed by film mogul Harvey Weinstein. The article encouraged a slew of other women to come forward with their own allegations about Weinstein, who has since stepped down from his company.
In October 2017, actress Rose McGowan revealed that she had been raped by Harvey Weinstein earlier in her career. Although her case involving Weinstein was settled in 1997, she went public with her story once it appeared that her attacker had continued to target countless other woman over the span of 30 years.
The 27-year old singer became an advocate against victim-shaming when she was bullied for speaking out against Radio DJ David Mueller, who groped her during a 2013 meet-and-greet. Mueller sued the singer for the loss of his job, but the courts ruled in Swift’s favor, granting her a $1 countersuit. Swift attests that David Mueller has yet to pay her that dollar, most likely because he still believes he did nothing wrong.
The Cruel Intentions actress was assaulted and threatened by film director James Toback in 1999. Like many women, she was afraid to speak up, for fear that her attacker would make good on his threats. Once she heard other woman accuse Toback of similar behavior, Blair gathered the courage to tell her story.
The American journalist, known for hosting NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today, spoke for all working women when she told investigators that not enough is being done to protect women in the workplace. Her complaints against Bill O’Reilly while working at Fox News were ignored, and O’Reilly was found to have paid millions of dollars in settlements to woman who had accused him of sexual misconduct.
She’s the former Uber engineer whose viral essay blog brought down the CEO of Uber and 20 other employees in one fell swoop. Knowing that many of her coworkers had been bullied into silence, Susan chose her words carefully, and spurred an investigation that exposed Uber’s sexist work environment.
This Oregon Senator named Sen. Jeff Kruse as her harasser, even though she knew she might face heavy backlash, due to the fact that Kruse belongs to her own political party.
She’s a Californian lobbyist famous for her campaign against sexual harassment in politics. The organization that she co-founded, dubbed “We Said Enough”, published a letter signed by 147 women calling for change in the way the government handles sexual abuse cases.