#MeToo Movement Brings Sexual Harassment to Light

Bismarck - From Hollywood to Capitol Hill, the 'silence breakers' have come forward with claims of being harassed by men they've had a professional tie with.
Emily Medalen talks about the revolution this has launched.

Tim and Alysia - the sexual allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein started what many consider a movement.

Shortly after, #MeToo went viral - and Twitter reports that since then, over 1.7 million women and men have used the hashtag in 85 countries.
I spoke with several women about what this means to them - and about the changes it's already set in motion.

"Someone said, 'This is me.' and gave someone else the comfort and the strength to say 'Me, too," says Becky Matthews with the Bismarck Women's Network.

Sexual misconduct charges against dozens of men this year sparked #MeToo -
This social media movement quickly went viral, with over 1.7 million men and women coming forward to say they have dealt with sexual harassment.

"Every woman that has been able to step out - or man - to step out and say that, is giving someone else that ability to share their truth," says Matthews.

Those that I spoke with said it can be difficult to know where to draw the line between what's appropriate at work, and what's not.

"That feeling of someone having power over your body, or your comfort level, is where that line of harassment is," says Matthews.

The North Dakota legislature recently examined their sexual harassment policy in wake of the uprising.

"The movement around me has really started the conversation that, this is something that women often experience more than men in the workplace," says Janelle Moos, Executive Director of CAWS.

Moos says every workplace needs to have a clear policy in place. 

"If there's not something in place that would allow someone to say "I've experienced this" or "I've witnessed this," it creates this culture that says it's okay," says Moos. 

Matthews says there's a reason victims often don't speak up right away.

"A lot of fear is that people won't believe you."

She also explained why so many women are bringing up instances from as long as 30 years ago.

"Some of these things that we thought of as small, because it wasn't a sexual assault, but sexual harassment... aren't small," says Moos.

A shift in culture - encouraging men and women to let their voices be heard.

"What has happened in the past, we can't change, but we can learn from to change for the next generation," says Matthews.

She added that if you're scared to come forward due to fear of losing your job, look closely at the sexual harassment policy at your place of work and take your concerns to the level of management that can help.

This is a very highly discussed topic right now.

It's important to note that we know this happens to men as well as women.
The group that has come forward has been overwhelmingly women, it's affecting a lot more people than we realized.
 


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