On Sunday, actress Alyssa Milano asked women across the internet to share the words “me, too” to bring light to a phenomenon experienced by women around the world: sexual assault and harassment.
Within 24 hours of her post, more than 500,000 women had tweeted messages using the hashtag — and the campaign spread to other social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram.
Today, men are responding to the call with four words: “How I will change.”
The #HowIWillChange hashtag was started by Sydney-based TV screenwriter, journalist and newspaper columnist Benjamin Law, Mashable reports.
“Guys, it's our turn,” Law wrote on Twitter. “After yesterday's endless #MeToo stories of women being abused, assaulted and harassed, today we say #HowIWillChange.”
Law also suggested several ways men can be allies to women, including donating to local women’s shelters and supporting UN Women’s work around the world; acknowledging that friends and family can be perpetrators of sexual assault; and taking action to prevent sexual assault, rather than simply questioning it.
The response to Law’s tweet, from men and women alike, was overwhelmingly positive:
In a meeting, producer made sexist comment, so stunned didn't call him out. Will speak up next time #HowIWillChange— B E Ayshford (@episode2480) October 16, 2017
Always remember the standard I walk past is the standard I accept. I'm not going to walk past. #HowIWillChange— Justin WoOoOolley 👻 (@Woollz) October 17, 2017
@mrbenjaminlaw Thank you for this. ❤️ It makes me have a little more faith in humanity and men.— Katie Rasmussen (@katiebambatie) October 17, 2017
Sexual assault and harassment in the United States, and around the world, is prevalent.
In the United States, an estimated one in five women experience sexual assault at college, and at some schools that number is as high as one in two. Still, many more cases go unreported.
One in three women reported having experienced sexual harassment at work, according to a 2015 study.
The World Health Organization estimated that 35% of women around the world have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime — amounting to over 1 billion women worldwide.
Global Citizen campaigns on ending sexual violence against women. You can take action here.
Men can play an important role in preventing sexual assault and dismantling the culture that allows (and often encourages) it to happen.
Former US Vice President Joe Biden, speaking to students at George Mason University earlier this year, warned about this dynamic.
“Rape and sexual assault are not about sex,” he said. “They’re about power.”
He called on men and women to “help [sexual assault]survivors in any way they can.”
Now, more men are calling on their peers to do more to prevent sexual assault and harassment. Here are some of their responses:
#HowIWillChange I will keep showing my 3 sons and one grandson how to honor & respect women.— Jesse T. Smith (@JSmith4Congress) October 17, 2017
Guys - meaningful change starts in the home.
#HowIWillChange means acknowledging MY OWN capacity for harmful behaviour, and taking responsibility for unlearning that toxicity— biryani brah (@garliquorice) October 16, 2017
#HowIWillChange realizing the "harmless" actions of my friends when we're out at bars, clubs, or festivals isn't so harmless after all.— Brandon Louis (@brad_lee21) October 17, 2017
I will never blame a victim, and I will never stand and watch as a man makes unwanted advances on a woman #HowIWillChange— Michael (@TrippyTrappy_Jr) October 17, 2017
#HowIWillChange? Never accept the diversion tactics of abusers. Never enable, even passively, the behaviors that lead to this.— Alex Soul Rots💀☠️🎃 (@solwat) October 16, 2017