#MeToo prompts women share stories of sexual harassment

#MeToo prompts women share stories of sexual harassment

WATCH: Harvey Weinstein scandal prompts women to take to social media using #MeToo to say they’ve experienced sexual harassment or assault. Tess van Straaten reports.

Sexual harassment takes many forms ? from cat calls and lewd comments to unwanted touching and assault ? and every woman has a story.

“Someone drove by and whacked me on the backside and they said something like nice butt,” one woman told CHEK News.

“When I was a senior undergraduate student, one of the professors made it quite clear if I was willing to have sex with him, I would end up with an A,” another woman said.

We talked to 10 different women, aged 19 to 73, on the streets of Victoria and we couldn’t find one who hadn’t experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault.

“Almost daily, men will send me pretty rude or explicit unwanted messages on social media,” a young woman said. “They’ll send (inappropriate) pictures and it’s gross and when I tell them I’m not interested, they keep doing it.”

“When I first started working everyone knew if I went into this one gentleman’s office he would literally chase me around his drafting table,” a middle-aged woman said.

“I was an older teenager and it happened in a park ? just groping and then running away,” a senior told us.

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, women of all ages are taking to social media ? using the #MeToo ? to say it’s happened to them and to share their stories, many for the first time.

“The Facebook posts really struck me that everyone I know, 400 or 500 people, have all experienced it,” a woman in her 30s said. “It’s really showing how big that is in society ? it’s everywhere.”

Experts say they’re not surprised. The key now?  Harnessing #MeToo to affect real change.

“It’s important to figure out how do we move from that to creating an environment where we’re less accepting of sexual harassment, where it would be surprising to a woman to say ‘oh my god, you were harassed!'” says UVic professor Dr. Rachel Cleves. “One thing I’d like to see are more people contributing to the #MeToo with an acknowledgement of their own role as harassers.”

Some men are starting to admit they have done or said things they shouldn’t and they’re challenging others to do the same.

And that’s why experts say we need to tell men or women crossing the line that it’s not okay, instead of just brushing it off or staying silent, to finally stop it for good.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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