It’s been just over a year since American actor Alyssa Milano asked women who’d been sexually harassed or assaulted to write #MeToo as a status on Twitter after rape allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein came to light. More than 60,000 people, mostly women, responded. More followed on Facebook and Instagram, and a global movement based on activist Tarana Burke’s words more than a decade earlier was reborn.
In Toronto, thousands of women and their allies descended onto Nathan Phillips Square for the second annual Toronto Women’s March to help amplify conversations about sexual and gender-based violence and feminist issues in the Trump era.
Powerful men in Hollywood continue to be called out for their bad behaviour. In addition to Weinstein, comics Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Andy Dick and Jeremy Piven were all accused of forcing women to perform sexual acts without consent. In September, Bill Cosby, who has been the subject of allegations dating back to the 1960s, was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison.
Closer to home, Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon was charged with rape, and Albert Schultz resigned from his position as artistic director of Soulpepper Theatre Company amid sexual harassment allegations. In March, dozens of concerts were relocated from Smiling Buddha after one of the club’s owners was arrested on sexual assault charges. And in September, after four years out of the public spotlight, former CBC Radio Q host Jian Ghomeshi resurfaced to pen a selective account of his case in the New York Review of Books that got its editor fired.
These are only a small number of stories that have come to the public’s attention thanks to the #MeToo movement’s collective strength. With another women’s march scheduled in Toronto in early 2019, there’s no doubt that we’ve only just seen the beginning.