"Me Too" Creator Tarana Burke And Alyssa Milano Marked The 5-Year Anniversary Of #MeToo Going Viral

Discussion of sexual assault.

Alyssa Milano and "Me Too" creator Tarana Burke marked the five-year anniversary of the viral hashtag.

Closeup of Alyssa Milano and Tarana Burke
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Back in 2017, after the Harvey Weinstein story first broke, Alyssa tweeted, "If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet" — sparking the viral "Me Too" hashtag into the popular consciousness.

Five years later, Alyssa retweeted her original post along with "#MeToo."

In an essay for Time on the anniversary of the hashtag, Tarana wrote, "When #MeToo went viral on Oct. 15, 2017, millions of people around the world made a courageous decision to reveal their darkest secrets. The sheer number—12 million responses on social media in 24 hours — ensured that the stories could not be ignored. Many survivors, like me, felt simultaneous dread and hope at this vulnerable moment of reckoning. But I also knew that moments like this were once-in-a-­lifetime for movements like ours."

Closeup of Tarana Burke and Alyssa Milano
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"As the years passed, the backlash mounted and the outcomes of accusations started to revert to what is statistically normal in this country. Patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism had a huge head start by the time we joined the race. While the movement was given a shot in the arm by #MeToo, the idea that it would be the antidote to decades of entrenched ideas and behaviors is wildly unrealistic. Yet, when the triumphs became tragedies, suddenly the movement was failing."

A Me Too protest
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"Those millions of people who responded to the hashtag exist because sexual violence is a pervasive public-health crisis," she continued. "More than any law that has been passed or policy that has been changed in the past five years, this movement has created visibility and community for those of us who thought we might go to our grave bearing a shame that was never ours to carry in the first place."

Tarana Burke on the red carpet
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"If the past five years have taught us anything, let it be that the #MeToo movement is not a spectator sport. Its fate is not decided in the court of law or the court of public opinion. The #MeToo movement is what we make it, by how we commit to dismantling rape culture and undermining the violence it creates; it’s how we take responsibility for creating a world without sexual violence; and how we respond to the needs of the survivors who are already here," she wrote.

Tarana Burke speaking at a podium
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You can read Tarana's full essay here.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), which routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search for your local center here