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Viewpoint: 2017 Was the Year of #MeToo, but What’s Next?

For ages women have silently suffered. In 2017 it all began to change.

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It all started with one man.

However, for ages women have silently suffered. In 2017 that all changed.

In October, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of preying on dozens of women and was ousted by the media industry, however it was what came next that made that story so important.

Although Weinstein denied the accusations, more people started coming forward with tales of abuse at the hands of powerful men.

Kevin Spacey was felled by stories of harassing teenage boys and Louis C.K. by tales that he exposed himself to female fans.

Politicians like Al Franken and John Conyers were forced to stand down, and Roy Moore lost Alabama’s special Senate election partly due to harassment claims.

Saying your company has a zero tolerance policy is very easy, but having major CEOs listen to and take advice from those who are a part of the #MeToo campaign will begin to actually make a difference.

Former Olympic gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar, accused of sexual assault by more than 130 women, including several Team USA gymnasts.

On Twitter in October, Alyssa Milano urged every woman who had ever been sexually harassed or assaulted to write “me too” as a reply to her tweet to “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” More than 1.7 million people immediately spoke out about their own harassment experiences after Milano’s tweet.

The magnitude of this movement lead TIME to reveal its 2017 Person of the Year: “The Silence Breakers.”

The #MeToo movement on social media feels good, in that it lets women — and men — have a platform on which to speak.

While that’s a great start, unless it’s followed up with legislative, social and systemic changes, it’s not going to go anywhere. This issue is more than having your employee check a box saying they have read and understood a company handbook and its policies.

Saying your company has a zero tolerance policy is very easy, but having major CEOs listen to and take advice from those who are a part of the #MeToo campaign will begin to actually make a difference.

While the #MeToo campaign cannot solve all the issues it raises,  it was a fresh beginning. The work of effecting real, widespread and lasting change will be a long, political and exhausting battle, but its best hope of success rests on its ability to address the needs of all women.

Are you looking to get more experience in digital media? Join the CMN team as a writer or social media producer and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing and a great place to display your work.You can get academic credit, too. Check out our current opportunities here.

Erin Whitten is currently CMN's Senior Correspondent and is currently a student at Arizona State University majoring in Mass Communications and Media Studies.

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