SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Sexual assault advocacy groups saw an influx of calls from people seeking help Sunday and Monday. They say it’s a direct response to the #MeToo campaign going viral on social media which encourages people to share their stories.
Actress Alyssa Milano started the hashtag on twitter , and was hopeful people would see how widespread the issue is. It came after the revelations about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein came to light.
The Rape Recover Center saw an immediate rise in the number of calls Sunday once the tweet went out. Development Director Morgan Stinson hopes campaigns like this will help change the conversation on sexual assault all together.
“Folks coming froward and sharing their courageous stories,” Said Stinson. “All of these things collectively is what we need are what we need to do to kind of un-write that script that exist.”
Advocates like Cat Palmer said they’re happy to see so many people coming forward to tell their stories and know for many it’s the first time. She also said it’s important to respect those who still can’t come forward.
While she glad to see the conversation being had, she also said it’s taken too long.
“We’ve been talking about this for so long, and we’ve been screaming about this for so long and I’m wondering what it’s going to take for people to actually listen.”
Palmer said she’s also worried campaigns like this sometimes leave out men, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.
Her partner Chris Forbes was the victim of sexual harassment by women in his workplace when he was just out of high school. he said because society sees most men as always wanting sex that it’s okay. Forbes and experts note it’s often not even about sex.
“It’s about power,” said Forbes. “They don’t want it to appear that they’re weak, they don’t want to appear that they’re out of control of a situation. They don’t want to say hey I need help.”
Advocacy groups hope the #MeToo campaign will highlight how big the problem is and encourage people to act. Not just for those who are the victim of these behaviors, but those who are witnessing it.