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Twitter chat: What #MeToo says about sexual abuse in society

If you logged on to any social media site last week, #MeToo was most likely at the top of your feed.

The hashtag, which appeared in light of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, invited survivors to share a message of solidarity with just two words. It has netted 1.7 million tweets in 85 different countries since it appeared on actor Alyssa Milano’s Twitter on Oct. 15.

While millions reached out with stories of abuse, others critiqued the hashtag, saying it created undue pressure on survivors to “out” themselves. Some people said the hashtag placed too much responsibility on people who might not want to share traumatic stories, arguing that the onus should be on abusers to admit to acts of sexual harassment or assault.

Whether or not users chose to share their stories online, the hashtag raised questions about the issue of sexual assault in society: Are we holding sexual predators responsible for their actions? How are we treating the people who come forward with stories of sexual abuse, and what does this hashtag say about the prevalence of sexual assault?

To explore those thoughts as well as the significance of #MeToo, the PBS NewsHour was joined on Twitter on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 1 p.m. ET by Jaclyn Friedman (@jaclynf) ‏American feminist writer and activist, and Julia Moser (@juliamoserrrr), associate producer at BuzzFeed News’ #AMtoDM and cohost of the podcast “Listen, Ladies.”

Read a recap of the conversation below —

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