A Manhattan Supreme Court Judge found former film producer Harvey Weinstein guilty on two counts of sexual assault after two years since the scandal unfolded.
On Feb. 24, the director of “Pulp Fiction” was charged with criminal sexual act and third-degree rape. His sentencing is scheduled for March 11 facing up to 25 years in prison.
Among the first accusers were actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd.
These accusations drove the ‘Me Too’ movement to the public eye. Following the allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein, the movement turned into the viral hashtag #MeToo started by Alyssa Milano on Twitter.
On Oct. 15, 2017 Milano tweeted:
“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet”
Since the first allegations, over 80 women came forward accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault or rape. The hashtag garnered wide-spread use by people around the world.
The ‘Me Too’ movement was originally founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke. Burke established it to help survivors of sexual assault, particularly black women and people of color from low-wealth communities find resources for healing.
Shortly after the allegations arose in late 2017, Hawai’i held its first public #MeToo discussion in February 2018. The discussion included speakers from Hawai’i’s workforce along with students from higher education institutions.
Among the panelists at the discussion was Nanea Lo, graduate student at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at UHM. She is also an advocate for Hawaiian Kingdom sovereignty, aloha ʻāina, feminism, climate change, civic engagement and community organizing.
“AF3IRM Hawaiʻi and The Hawaiʻi State Commission on The Status of Womxn helped to organize the very first #MeToo event here in Hawaiʻi in February 2018. I spoke about the #MeToo movement in work environments and in higher educational institutions,” Lo said in an email interview.
The panelists discussed sexual harassment in the workplace. They also talked about potential strategies to end it.
Aspects of the #MeToo movement have been integrated into the University of Hawai’i system more actively since the rise of sexual assault accusations nationwide.
Although the integration has started, Lo believes more action by the University would be valuable to the students.
“I think the University of Hawaiʻi should put together a panel of survivors who have a say and that will help to pass and enact/implement a process(es) that works for the students and not for the perpetrators.”
AF3IRM Hawai’i, along with many other organizations have helped bring aspects of the #MeToo movement to Hawai’i.
“I first actually became involved in the #MeToo movement with AF3IRM Hawaiʻi - this is a transnational feminist organization,” Lo said.
The University of Hawai’i currently houses some programs including the Women’s Center, Counseling and Student Development Center, Generation Action, the Office of Title IX and PAU Violence that all deal with sexual assault and violence.
With Weinstein’s recent conviction, the #MeToo movement gained new energy.
“I don’t think the #MeToo movement is going anywhere. It definitely did what it was made to do and that was intended to spread awareness and create a community where survivors and truth tellers can share and elevate survivors voices,” Lo said.
There are resources on campus available for students who need aid regarding sexual violence, harassment and assault.
“Womxn and survivors are going to keep coming forward no matter what. The momentum is never going to stop.”