Women - and men - show sexual assault victims they're not alone

Alyssa Milano

Alyssa Milano Verified account @Alyssa_Milano

"It's not a tremendous percentage but I think we were at 3% in 2013 and we're up to 5, 6 or 7% now". Personally, I see real power in the #MeToo thing.

If a victim has not been quick to get medically examined, it becomes a he said/ she said story.

The victims, most of whom are female, shouldn't have to announce "Me too" on social media to help the world grasp the ubiquity of sexual violence and harassment, Pavlovitz wrote in his blog, "Stuff That Needs to be Said".

Years later, when I was young reporter, I went to cover a feel-good employee event at a major local company that had been the focus of critical reporting by the newspaper. I and her sage advice.

That was the first time I had ever heard those words.

What I can't handle is being told that men are scary simply because they are men. Should I have said nothing? Well, he said smugly, she should either not have done so or served the man (who killed her) drinks as she was meant to. Clearly, the root cause of sexual perversion lies in the patriarchal upbringing where gender bias is ingrained in the culture.

"As women around the United States and across the world share their experiences with sexual harassment and assault as part of the "#MeToo" hashtag campaign, a theme is emerging.

When I wrote this essay, I was naive about the repercussions women who write about sexual assault face. The plight of sexual abuse victims has found resonance among millions of women who had faced similar harassment in varying degrees in their lives.

Looking at all these courageous women who wrote those words, I gathered the courage to post them myself.

I was - I am, part of the problem. "Me too" reveals the ubiquity of sexual assault", blared the headline on Suzanne Moore's Guardian column.

Maybe I have, and wasn't aware.

The past fortnight has seen several online movements, with the women coming forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault creating a platform and opening a conversation for us all. But the incidence of rape and sexual assault rose, from 1.1 per 1,000 people aged 12 or older to 1.6.

For many women who chose to keep quiet, the reason could be fear of retaliation, loss of job or that they might have to continue in the same situation with a man who will become even more vengeful. That much is clear. The only thing I knew was that I should never, never, never have written about my assault.

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It's a common occurrence for women in the technology industry to feel they have to act masculine in order to fit in or get ahead - but it's something that women in industries that are dominated by men are feeling less and less inclined to do.

I joined them and posted all that I felt comfortable sharing, a simple #metoo. They've helped me to understand my own shortcomings, and what I can do to be better.

It's important to remember, though, that those are only two examples of the men who have made public statements regarding their utter disgust for Harvey, a man whom many of them worked with before.

How could it be that something that has been so painfully clear to half the population could have gone on for so long with most of us men failing to notice, or worse, ignoring and dismissing the behavior?

But that's the point.

We are seeing also the strength in numbers that comes from accumulated individual experiences that are characteristically undeclared.

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

There's a potential problem with experiments using the kind of hypothetical scenario that we and others employed.

There were times on my university computer science course where one of the guys would say something about the ability of the women on the course - seemingly just because they were women. "Tell them to stop beating us, raping us, killing us". We can acknowledge that even if we have been through struggles ourselves, we can still cause pain on others. We determined that the participants, who were college students, overestimated how they would respond to seeing someone else get harassed. Together, the men and women who represent Orange County's working men and women will do what is right - we'll investigate any and all allegations made yesterday, today and tomorrow, and we'll take appropriate action. Sexual assault is a terrible epidemic that flourishes when we stay silent. Whenever a girl or woman is harassed, questions like "What was she wearing?" eventually arise.

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

Perhaps the slogan we need - for both sexes - is #BeDecent. Many of these experiences take place on public transit.

I thank them for passing on their knowledge so I could rethink the way I live my life and hopefully, encourage others to do the same.

An aspect of harassment is the crushing impact it has on the woman. We all have so much work we need to do.

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