#MeToo Moment Exposes Sexual Harassment, But Will Real Change Happen?

By Julia Prodis Sulek and Martha Ross
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) With so many recent sexual harassment scandals permeating universities, board rooms and political campaigns is #MeToo just another trending-but-soon-to-be-eclipsed hashtag? Or have we arrived at a watershed moment for women?

The Mercury News

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein Hollywood sexual abuse scandal, Facebook and Twitter feeds have been lighting up for days with women’s #MeToo horror stories, forcing the country to confront the pervasiveness of powerful men weaponizing sex and controlling the fates of countless women.

Along with Hollywood starlets Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon adding celebrity testimonials to Weinstein’s abuse, women in California politics are sharing their own humiliating experiences at the hands of fellow legislators and lobbyists, with more than 140 signing an open letter stating, “We’re done with this.”

But with so many recent sexual harassment scandals permeating universities, board rooms and political campaigns from the Silver Screen to Silicon Valley to Sacramento, is #MeToo just another trending-but-soon-to-be-eclipsed hashtag? Or have we arrived at a watershed moment for women that could finally force a culture shift?

“In the last decade or so, every once in a while there’s a big sexual harassment case and it dies down. But I feel like this time, there’s a lot of momentum,” said Elizabeth Yin, founder of the venture firm Hustle Fund.

She left 500 Startups in June to protest the company’s handling of a colleague’s sexual harassment claim against its founder. “I personally know, just from experience in this industry, there are a lot of cases. But I had no idea until I saw that pretty much every woman in my Facebook feed has been affected. It’s mind-blowing.”

Kathleen Gutierrez, a doctoral student at UC Berkeley who in early 2016 came forward publicly about a professor’s behavior, called the #MeToo campaign “invigorating.”

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