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Girls & Women

Sexual Harassment Survivors Spoke Out at This Weekend’s #MeToo March

Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Ed Westwick, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Gregg Zaun… the list of names continues to grow as the #MeToo movement rises, and a group of people in Toronto decided to show their support by holding a march this past weekend.

Hundreds of people rallied on Saturday to take the #MeToo campaign from social media to the streets.

A similar march took place in Los Angeles last month to condemn sexual harassment, as the #MeToo movement continues to gain notoriety.

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"It's really sickening to see how many people have gone through this and how many perpetrators have gotten away with it," Canadian actress and director Devery Jacobs told CBC, "I think it's just really important for women and men alike to stand together and call these people out, and also heal and move forward."

The #MeToo effort was initially sparked by allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein in October, but as more accusations have come to light, the hashtag has become a platform for women to unite in the fight against sexual harassment.

Women and men have unified in different ways, using social media to report incidents and organizing marches like this one.

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"I was overwhelmed with this feeling of empathy, as a survivor of sexual abuse myself," Alathea Milne-Hines, one of the march organizers, told CBC. "I just felt this feeling my gut, something else needs to happen beyond the social media realm."

The #MeToo movement has certainly been an apt way to spread awareness about sexual assault.

Women in Toronto are no strangers to sexual harassment allegations against prominent figures in the media, with the Jian Ghomeshi acquittal of sexual assault charges against three women still fresh in many minds.

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But this time, the publicity of the allegations is helping survivors to be heard and the movement is empowering women here and around the world.

Following the #MeToo movement, #AfterMeToo appeared, which is being led by Canadian film director, writer and producer Aisling Chin-Yee and actress Mia Kirshner. The pair are calling for a change in Canada’s entertainment industry.

"We're finally listening to survivors; we're believing them — hopefully we're believing them,” Chin-Yee said in an interview with CBC Radio's Day 6. "And this will, hopefully, change the culture for not putting up or not tolerating these types of abuses — or perpetuating this culture of silence."

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Chin-Yee and Kirshner are hosting a two-day symposium on Dec. 5 and 6 that is being called #AfterMeToo, according to The Globe and Mail. It will gather Canadian film and television professionals, and legal and trauma experts with the intention of finding ways to stop sexual harassment and assault in the film and television industry.

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