It all started in 2006 when the American civil rights activist Tarana Burke started a non-profit organisation, Just be inc, to support black girls and women who had been exposed to sexual harassment and assault. Burke coined the term “Me too” to support those affected and show that they are not alone in their experiences.
When the story of how film producer Harvey Weinstein had been harassing women for years was exposed in October 2017, the term “Me too” became common currency. The actor Alyssa Milano set the ball rolling when she encouraged everyone to use the hashtag #metoo to tell about their experiences of sexual harassment in social media.
Tarana Burke’s “Me too” is a platform for survivors of sexual assault, while the hashtag #metoo is used in a wider context. However, both are clearly connected to exposure to sex related violence. The abuse covers everything from sexual harassment to deadly, gender-based violence.
In Sweden, women in the theatre and film industry were the first to launch the joint hashtag #tystnadtagning (silent shoot). This bore witness to sexual harassment, violation, vulnerability and systematic silencing. #metoo grew quickly in Sweden with many different industries becoming involved. Later hashtags were initiated by groups of women, non-binary, transgender people and children and youths not connected to a specific industry sector, such as #intedinhora (not your whore), #underytan (below the surface), #slutvillkorat (final condition) and #tystiklassen (silence in class).
As a consequence of the #metoo movement, in summer 2018 the government gave specific assignments to authorities and CSOs. This was to make the work to discover, address, prevent and raise awareness of sexual harassment widely spread.
Based on the government assignment to train and inform social services and other closely related activities, the Swedish Gender Equality Agency has created five short films about the #metoo-movement. The purpose of the films is to highlight the needs that the movement has drawn attention to.