#MeToo stories continued challenging male power in 2018. After model Kate Upton accused Guess co-founder Paul Marciano of sexually and emotionally harassing her, he resigned from his executive chairman position on the company’s board. CBS CEO and television titan Les Moonves resigned under pressure after women came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment, with some charges dating back decades. After dozens of survivors testified in court about the abuse of Larry Nassar, the Olympic doctor was sentenced to 175 years in prison.
A little over a year since #MeToo exploded on social media, and over a decade since the movement was founded by Tarana Burke, a long-awaited cultural shift around sexual misconduct is finally coming to the fore. Sexual abuse survivors are done staying silent—and they’re speaking out to demand that abusers are held accountable and victims have equitable access to justice.
#TimesUp, across sectors and for abusers everywhere—and these hashtags proved it in 2018.
Michigan pediatrician Dr. Meg Edison called on the American Medical Association this year to hold sexually abusive doctors accountable. Resolution 243, which Edison brought to the AMA’s leadership, would require the organization and state medical societies to adopt policies mandating that health care providers report sex crimes by doctors to the police—a practice that’s currently required in only 11 states. The Resolution was recommended for adoption in June. This work emerges in the wake of survivors coming forward about doctor sex abuse—including Ms. contributor (and #MeToo shero!) Marissa Hoechstetter.
Feminist leaders from around the world who fight every day to end violence and harassment came together in Los Angeles this May for the Feminist Majority Foundation’s annual Global Women’s Rights Awards. (You can watch a video of the entire GWRA program—and our red-carpet interviews with honorees and featured guests—on the Ms. Facebook page!)
Time’s Up co-founder and civil rights attorney Nina Shaw and actor and activist Laura Dern; labor activist Maria Elena Durazo, who organizes hotel workers fighting for better protections in the workplace; Adama Iwu, who founded WE SAID ENOUGH to fight harassment in state legislatures; Elizabeth Nyamayoro, who works to build male solidarity in the fight for gender equality as head of UN Women’s HeForSheCampaign; and Mónica Ramírez, who fights for hundreds of thousands of woman farmworkers joined FMF President Ellie Smeal and Ms. Executive Editor Katherine Spillar for an honest and rousing conversation on-stage about the future of the #MeToo movement that night—and outlined their visions for next steps that would change the landscape for women workers everywhere.
Hundreds of activists gathered in Hollywood to fight back against sexual harassment and abuse in the wake of mounting allegations against Harvey Weinstein at the Take Back the Workplace march organized by comedian Tess Rafferty with the help of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Civican and We For She. At the march, survivors from a variety of workplaces and industries shared their stories, and activists called for policy reform.
“We’re marching to demand a commission to take action against sexual harassment,” organizers declared in a joint announcement, “to change the culture in Hollywood with zero-tolerance policies for abusive behavior and a secure, reliable, unimpeachable system in which victims of abuse can report what’s happened to them with a confident expectation that action will be taken—without placing their employment, reputation and career at risk.”
McDonald’s employees are done with unwanted touches, indecent gestures, and remarks by their coworkers and customers. As part of the MeToo movement, McDonald’s employees took the street nationwide to protest workplace harassment. Carrying signs that read “#MeTooMcDonalds,” McDonald’s employees walked out on their jobs in cities across the country to protest the sexual harassments they face at work.
“I’ve got two granddaughters, and they need a better world,” Chicago activist Jill Ferguson told Ms. “They need a place where this doesn’t even happen—where we don’t have to be out here screaming and shouting because nobody is listening.”
When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford pursued what she felt was her “civic duty”—and publicly told her own #MeToo story, alleging then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her in high school—the entire nation felt the shockwaves. Soon, other survivors came forward with similar testimonies; across the country, survivors and their allies took to the streets and demanded justice for Ford and the millions of women like her breaking their silence. In the process, they paved the way together for a record-breaking Year of the Woman at the ballot box—and drew attention to the ways in which the justice system often fails survivors.