The #MeToo movement did not end with one case of sex crimes in the film industry. The movement led to increased interest and support not only against sexual assault in the workplace but also for narrowing the gender pay gap and ultimately upholding overall women’s rights. A wave started to emerge from the still waters as silenced victims arose. And three years have passed since the #MeToo movement started. Has anything actually changed? Did those changes occur in the US only?
After the #MeToo movement
The wave of changes due to the #MeToo movement was not limited to the US. The movement spread globally across different countries and ethnicities including France, China, Japan, India, Australia, Nigeria, and Mexico. The sex offenders hidden at the start of the #MeToo movement resurfaced, and some countries enacted relevant laws or started other movements that brought incredible developments while other countries, even though it was small and tenuous, opened up for a new beginning. The scale of the impact was different, but no one could see all this and say that it was meaningless.
- Many states in the US prohibited non-disclosure contracts regarding sexual assault or sexual harassment after the #MeToo movement. For instance, Zelda Perkins, a former secretary of Harvey Weinstein, was repetitively forced to write down Weinstein’s notes while next to him as he was bathing and was coerced to sign a contract that prevented her from disclosing it to others. This contract silenced Perkins for almost 20 years. This kind of contract allows the rich and powerful to buy others’ silence, and force them into compliancy.
- Many states, such as New York and California, started to protect independent contractors who were not protected by existing state laws. Federal sexual assault laws and most state laws are applied to employees within a company but excluded technical freelancers and the self-employed. Hundreds of domestic and farm workers as well as employees at a company with fewer than 15 employees were also not protected. New York expanded laws on sexual assault to individual contractors in 2018 and improved the protection of domestic workers in 2019.
- The financial compensation for victims of sex crimes has increased. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed 41 sexual harassment suits in 2018, which was an increase of more than 50% from the previous year. The EEOC obtained $70 million in compensation from companies on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, which is a 47% increase compared to 2017.
- In Sweden, Jean-Claude Arnault, a former photographer and artistic director, was found to have sexually assaulted 18 women over the course of 20 years as an aftereffect of the #MeToo movement, and his Nobel Prize in Literature was revoked. He denied all allegations but was found guilty of one count of rape and sentenced to two years in prison. Arnault appealed the verdict and, two months later in December, received an increased sentence of two years and six months in prison. Sex crimes against 18 women over the course of 20 years in the art world. This case is very similar to the Harvey Weinstein case, which was a catalyst for the #MeToo movement. It was a moment the hidden Harvey Weinsteins around the world were unveiled.
- Japan went further than sex crimes and set out to rectify gender discrimination in everyday life through the #KuToo movement. #KuToo movement is a new term created by combining the Japanese word kutsu which can mean both pain and shoes and #MeToo and is a women's high-heel liberation movement launched by actor Yumi Ishikawa in 2019. High heels can have a negative effect on health as they can lead to ingrown toenails, bleeding of the heels or toes, and excessive strain on the back. However, they have been mandatory for women in Japanese society to ensure ‘etiquette’ and ‘formality’ despite doing the same work as men. Simply because heels “look better”. This unfair dress code only lowered the work efficiency of women. This is clear gender discrimination, and the voices of women in Japan are growing for improvement as they realize how much discrimination is part of their everyday life.
- Even China, the country of censorship, could not avoid the impact of the #MeToo movement. There can only be a more passive response since China does not allow group actions such as protests or rallies. Even if there is no large-scale protest or march, the victims showed their remarkable determination by taking their cases to the court as a student at the University of Minnesota sued a Chinese billionaire for rape. This kind of pressure even forced the Chinese government to improve its laws restrictively. In December 2018, the Supreme Court of China added sexual harassment to the list of “Causes of Action” to make it easier to aid victims of sexual harassment.
- #BalanceTonPorc (“Expose Your Pig”) received overwhelming support as a hashtag movement and reformed laws related to sex crimes in France. “Sandra Muller”, a journalist in France, planned the #BalanceTonPorc (“Expose Your Pig”) movement to allow women to share their experience of sexual harassment and sexual assault. This movement received an overwhelming response and gave the opportunity for “Marlène Schiappa,” the Secretary of State for Gender Equality, to reform laws. A new law was passed in August 2018, which extended the statute of limitations for sex crimes and introduced new laws on cyberstalking, cat-calling, and secretly taking photos of women underneath their skirts.
- In support of the #MeToo movement, the “#WithYou” movement started in Korea. “With You” represents support for victims of sex crimes, and the movement received support not only from individuals but also from the government. The movement also had the intention of consolidating strength not only to protect and support the safety of victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault but also to improve the deeply rooted gender discriminatory structures and become a gender-equal democratic society.
- The “School MeToo” was also a heated movement in schools where students should be educated and protected. Many students accused none other than their teachers. With allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Students testified that teachers made sexual jokes and enjoyed their reactions, watched pornography in the teacher’s room or special activity rooms, or they would make sexually harassing remarks to students with an excuse of checking their compliance with the dress code. The School MeToo arose from more than 50 schools nationwide. Some teachers were dismissed or suspended; unfortunately, many of the teachers still remain in schools, and students who bravely raised their voices were reported for “defamation” to the educational foundation.
- The MeToo movement, which began in the United States, has had a huge impact on many countries around the world.
- Some countries have made great leaps forward, while others just the first step
- From now on all the world will hopefully continue to move forward