Thousands respond 'me too' to Alyssa Milano's Twitter prompt on sexual abuse

PHOTO: AFP

Washington - Actress Alyssa Milano has sparked a massive outpouring with a simple Twitter request that women respond "me too" if they've been sexually assaulted or harassed.

More than 27,000 people replied, making "#MeToo" the top trending topic through the day Sunday.

The avalanche of painful personal stories comes amid a series of high profile sex abuse scandals - the latest one centred around powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The intensity and breadth of the response highlighted that the problem reaches well beyond the rich and famous and features in the everyday lives of women around the world.

"If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," Milano wrote.

Many women appeared to be speaking out for the first time about abuses they had suffered and said they had to overcome feelings of shame and embarrassment to do so.

Some just responded "#MeToo." 

Broken trust

Others said they had been abused as children by relatives, or as a teenager by a person they trusted. That nobody believed them when they spoke about it emerged as a common refrain.

"I wish I could remember who I was before #MeToo," wrote a woman named Rosey.

"Molested by a family member. Raped as a kid and an adult. Became a drug addict and then overcame. Don't ever give up. I'm here#MeToo," said Amy Christensen in her post.

"Sexual assaulted by a military doctor at Lackland AFB. 1973," said DebiDay.

"Me, too. I spoke out. What did I learn. That no one, absolutely no one, would listen, much less help," said Lisa Omlid.

"If you are not at the point where you can share your #MeToo I stand with you," said Kelly Douglas. "Your story is valid whether you share it or not." There were many sympathetic responses from men.

Vinay Ramesh encouraged "all my fellow men to learn about #MeToo. The responsibility to stop sexual violence is absolutely on us." "I feel disgusted and sad," said Ed Krassenstein.

Scandals

Although the overwhelming majority of the posts were personal in nature, the Weinstein scandal and US President Donald Trump's videotaped boasts of groping women with impunity also drew comments.

"Just as I did after the #Trump tapes, I'm having flashbacks due to the Harvey Weinstein assault & rape allegations. Abuse is forever," wrote BuffieHippie.

More than 20 women - a who's who of Hollywood - have come forward to accuse Weinstein of rape, assault and sexual harassment.

Milano, probably best known for her role in the 1980s sitcom "Who's the Boss," is not among the accusers.

Weinstein, who insists any sexual encounters were consensual, was expelled this week from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A court document made public on Sunday revealed that Trump's campaign has been subpoenaed for all documents related to assault allegations that emerged during his run for the presidency.

The subpoena is part of a defamation lawsuit brought by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump's reality TV show "The Apprentice" who alleged he tried to kiss and grope her without her consent.

Here are the actresses who've accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, abuse

  • In part two of the New York Times' explosive expose chronicling decades of sexual harassment allegations waged against studio mogul Harvey Weinstein- several actresses went public with their stories for the first time.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow: "I was a kid, I was signed up, I was petrified," Paltrow said about her experience as a then 22-year-old on the set of 1996's Emma.
  • Anjelina Jolie recalled a similar incident. "I had a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein in my youth, and as a result, chose never to work with him again and warn others when they did," Jolie said in an e-mail to the Times.
  • Italian film star Asia Argento, the 42-year-old daughter of iconic horror director Dario Argento, said Weinstein forced oral sex on her 20 years ago. She told the publication she had maintained her silence until now for fear that Weinstein would "crush" her.
  • Model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, a former Miss Italy finalist, told the New Yorker she met Weinstein March 2015 at a reception for a show he was producing in New York. She said Weinstein "lunged at her, groping her breasts and attempting to put a hand up her skirt" at a meeting in his offices in Tribeca.
  • French actress Judith Godreche met Weinstein for breakfast at a hotel in 1996. He later invited her up to his suite to see the "view". But he later asked for a massage and pressed himself against Godreche, even pulling off her sweater.
  • Rosanna Arquette: In the early 1990s, Weinstein asked the young actress to stop by a hotel in Beverly Hills to pick up a script. She remembers telling him "I'm not that girl," after he asked her for a massage.
  • Rose McGowan: The actress reportedly reached a US$100,000 settlement with Weinstein in 1997, after an "episode in a hotel room at the Sundance Film Festival".
  • Ashley Judd: The accused Weinstein of inviting her to his hotel room, appearing in a bathrobe, offering her a massage, and asking her if she wanted to watch him take a shower.
  • Former actress and screenwriter Louisette Geiss held a news conference where she alleged that her encounter with Weinstein took place at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. He invited her to his office for a meeting, and soon excused himself and returned naked, wearing only a bathrobe. He later asked that she watch him masturbate.
  • Mira Sorvino: The actress starred in several of Weinstein's films, told The New Yorker that he sexually harassed her and tried to pressure her into a physical relationship while they worked together.
  • British actress Romola Garai told The Guardian she felt "violated" following a meeting with Harvey Weinstein in his London hotel room when she was 18 in which he was in a bathrobe. Garai said that once she was in the room the two had a brief discussion about film but she felt "belittled" by his "abuse of power."
  • Model and actress Cara Delevingne accused Weinstein of propositioning her and attempting to kiss her after a meeting about an upcoming film. "He said to me that if I was gay or decided to be with a woman especially in public, that I'd never get the role of a straight woman or make it as an actress in Hollywood," Delevingne said in a statement.
  • French actress Lea Seydoux became the latest in a string of female Hollywood stars speaking out against Weinstein. Also subjected to his advances, she alleged "everyone" in Hollywood "knew what Harvey was up to".
  • In a revealing piece written for Variety, Heather Graham revealed that Weinstein asked her to have sex with him in exchange for being included in his movie in the early 2000s. He told Graham that he had an agreement with his wife in which he could sleep with whomever he wanted whenever he was out of town. "I walked out of the meeting feeling uneasy," Graham wrote.
  • Kate Winslet has revealed in an interview with Los Angeles times why she didn't thank the disgraced film producer in her 2009 Oscars speech. "That was deliberate. That was absolutely deliberate," Winslet said. "I remember being told. 'Make sure you thank Harvey if you win'. And I remember turning around and saying, 'No I won't. No I won't.' ... If people aren't well-behaved, why would I thank him?""
  • British actress Lysette Anthony said he had attacked her in her London home in the late '80s. Anthony said It happened after she had got to know the producer when she starred in the 1982 film Krull, according to The Telegraph.
  • Kate Beckinsale also came forward about Weinstein sexually harassing her when she was just 17 and hampering her career. She posted her statement to Instagram with a picture of her as a teenager and wrote that when she was called to meet him at the Savoy Hotel in London, Weinstein opened the door in a bathrobe. She left the room "uneasy but unscathed".
  • Actress Eva Green has said she felt "shocked and disgusted" after an encounter with Weinstein in which she allegedly had to "push him off" during a business meeting. The Bond girl gave her statement after her mother told a French radio that her daughter "was a victim of this horrible man".

VIDEOS TO WATCH

SERVICES