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How #MeToo Is Blazing a Trail From Hollywood To Washington

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This past weekend, hundreds of people gathered in Hollywood in support of survivors of sexual violence. Among the crowd, shirts read “Me Too” and “No more sexual abuse. The crowd chanted: “Survivors united, will never be divided,” and “Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no.”

In the last few weeks—following the fall of the kingpin, Harvey Weinstein—we have watched several prominent individuals in Hollywood be brought down for alleged acts of sexual abuse and violence.

The #MeToo movement, started by Tarana Burke, has taken the world by storm; bringing people together in solidarity to fight against sexual assault and harassment across all sectors.

Increasingly, people in Hollywood — critics, actors, and filmmakers, the majority of whom are women — are using their platforms to bring on a change that counters the previous status quo of abuse of power anchored in misogyny and sexism. However, these moves have the power to affect all industries, not just Hollywood.

As this week began, allegations and accusations continued to spread across several different industries within a span of 24 hours.

On Monday, Eddie Bergnza, an editor at DC comics, was firedafter sexual allegations were made against him by three women. The same day, Steve Jurvetson, a founder of a Silicon Valley capital firm who serves on the board for Tesla, left his own firm according to the New York Times, after coming under investigation for his behavior with women in the past. Meanwhile, staff at gaming site IGN walked outafter allegations that a former editor had sexually harassed two women employees, and following sexual misconduct allegations against lead singer Jesse Lacey, the band Brand New canceled its tour.

But the biggest news by far is in Washington. Several women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, and yesterday, a fifth woman came forward.

According to theTimes, the newest accuser told a news conference in New York that Mr. Moore had attacked her when she was sixteen. She said that Moore had warned her that no one would believe her if she came forward.

Despite the attempt to drown out the core issue with party finger-pointing and deeply unnerving excuses, women continued to serve as reminders that, unlike in the past, this kind of misconduct will not be overshadowed or covered up.

On Tuesday, CNN spoke with 50 lawmakers who described a culture of pervasive sexual harassment in the Capitol. House lawmakers, including Republican Rep Mary Bono and Democratic former Senator Barbara Boxer, have come forward to the AP with accounts of harassment by male counterparts as well.

“This is about power,” said Boxer, who recounted to AP reporters being the subject of a sexually suggestive 'joke' by male colleagues.

“That was an example of the way I think we were thought of, a lot of us. ... It’s hostile and embarrasses, and therefore could take away a person’s power,” she said.

"Amongst ourselves, we know," a former Senate staff member told CNN of lawmakers with bad reputations. In fact, lawmakers, staff, and interns have spoken of several 'unwritten rules' and a 'creep list' — an informal roster of male members notorious for inappropriate behavior — that help female staffers deal with rampant harassment and coercion on Capitol Hill.

Though it is no secret that sexual misconduct occurs in all corners of the world, recent news has made it abundantly clear how pervasive these issues really are. Further, the ripple effect this movement has had across the country — especially in Hollywood — seems to finally be making its way into politics, and only time will tell how the Capitol will be affected by these claims.

One thing is for certain: this movement has ignited something among women and other survivors of sexual assault that has given many historically disempowered individuals the opportunity to speak out and spark change where change is needed most.


(Sarah Morris/Getty Images)

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