#MeToo movement brings to light how common sexual assault is

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"Me too, my mother too, my sister too, my grandmother too, my best friends too", another said. Should I have said nothing?

Comments on the streets, whispers in the subway and unwanted caresses are only a small part of what women and men alike suffer on a daily basis. Anything that makes people feel threatened, powerless or less than worthy based on gender - or race or sexual orientation - is wrong.

When I wrote this essay, I was naive about the repercussions women who write about sexual assault face.

Anyone who has read me or my story knows that I was the victim of child sexual abuse.

Unfortunately there are several industries that are lacking in women, and the women who are in these industries are not having a good time - the hashtag aims to unite women across the world and end their silence.

He's done it through charm, cajoling and a legendary mean streak, giving credence to Marlon Brando's famous observation that "most of the successful people in Hollywood are failures as human beings".

I was - I am, part of the problem. A hashtag does not cover the level of sexual assault I have endured in my life.

Maybe I have, and wasn't aware. This hashtag shows that sexual harassment victims are not people outside of the society-they can be any one of us. It haunts me to think that I have given social approval to serial harassers or worse because of what I didn't know. I didn't speak up, because I was anxious that I might be made un-hireable by dissenting.

The more women there are who take on senior representation roles across public and private sectors, the more opportunities there are for change in the culture of invisibility and impunity, where more powerful men are able to prey on women.

More intimate examples, as well, of course, though the #MeToo phenomenon helped me see that there are lines in the sand for me, some things I will not put out to the world to reflect on. I can handle the blowback of men telling me that at least it isn't as bad as being aborted.

The incident that haunted me the most happened in broad daylight in my own neighborhood when I was 13 or 14.

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When women are nearly invisible, when they are not really seen, it seems that people do not have to care what happens to them. It's genuine. I have no need or desire to become sexual partners with them. But when they actually hear those remarks, they don't.

Soon after, men began tweeting thoughts on what they could do to effect change in their everyday lives - and the response has been incredible. Indeed, research by Stanford Law School's Deborah Rhode and SMU Dedman School of Law's Joanna Grossman indicates that sexual harassment in the legal profession is much more pervasive than we might think.

But that's the point. One reason why encouraging intervention makes good sense is that some 70 percent of women have observed harassment in the workplace, according to research by psychologist Robert Hitlan.

The "we" she is referring to, guys, includes men.

Despite its many benefits, some experts say that this new phenomenon also corners up those who are not ready to talk about it.

"Guys, while we may not believe we have committed direct acts of violence against women (however given the statistics, this is quite likely), we have each participated in a culture of misogyny and sexism that continues to victimize and traumatize, to steal safety and generate fear, to deny humanity and to cultivate disrespect", Pavlovitz wrote. Hundreds of thousands of women have taken to social media to share that they have been harassed or assaulted by men. We can acknowledge that even if we have been through struggles ourselves, we can still cause pain on others. "We are united in our mission to wipe out sexual harassment in the animation industry, and we will no longer be silent".

Participants, all of whom were women, expected to feel angry, confront the harasser and refuse to answer the hypothetical interviewer's inappropriate questions.

We can, should, and must amplify the voices of women.

The number of men who have joined this campaign is promising, but far from being enough (30 per cent in one report). Casual indifference, and people saying "it's nothing" have to stop. They know if I catch them not being so that I will not accept that behavior.

There is also an entire spectrum of experiences women have that don't fit into these categories but that have an equally large impact. We all have so much work we need to do.

When we don't talk about our rape, or our assault, or our experience that we know was not OK but do not know exactly how to classify, this is what happens: nothing.

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