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On the afternoon of October 15, 2017, the actress Alyssa Milano. tweeted an application to his followers: "If you have been harassed or sexually assaulted, write me" me too "in response to this tweet."
The results were overwhelming.
In 24 hours, its publication generated thousands of responses, comments and retweets and inspired thousands of other publications on social networks, with women and men from all over the world sharing personal stories. Among the celebrities who responded were Lady Gaga, Viola Davis, Javier muñoz Y Evan Rachel Wood.
But many women who were not family names also spoke: nurses, teachers, engineers, florists, waitresses and students: mothers and daughters, sisters and wives.
Some opened for the first time about being raped. Others talked about defending themselves from aggressive co-workers and losing jobs.
Milano was not surprised to learn that so many people had #MeToo stories, but I was surprised at how honest they were in telling those stories on social media.
"Everyone was so brave to talk about their experiences," Milano told NBC News in a telephone interview on Monday, the anniversary of her tweet heard around the world.
"The most beautiful thing about all this is that not only do women stand up and use their voices, but they support each other in solidarity," added Milano. "The collective pain we have felt has become a collective power, it's amazing."
In the weeks after the Milan tweet, the #MeToo movement, which activist Tarana Burke created more than a decade earlier, became a widespread battle cry for those seeking to prove that sexual harassment is not an isolated incident, and Nor is sexual assault uncommon. The results were far-reaching: dozens of powerful men accused, many of them shot down, a handful accused criminally.
"We have come very, very far in a year, but I think we have a long way to go," said Milano. "No movement is perfect. There will be setbacks. But I think it's within the gray areas that we can have important discussions about setting boundaries that have never been established before. "
NBC News approached dozens of people who responded initially to the tweet from Milano and to the Facebook post, who were among the first to say "I, too" last fall. Seven of those women, from teens to 60, agreed to reflect on how their #MeToo moments led them to rethink their careers and their lives. Some were happy to have taken a step forward a year ago and were encouraged by the calculation of accounts that has occurred since then; others pointed to Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation before the Supreme Court as a sign that there is still a long way to go.
These are your stories:
"They told me I had no choice"
Amanda Yennie, 46, who lives in Arizona, did not think twice about writing #MeToo when she saw the tweet from Milano last year.
When she was about 20 years old, Yennie said, she was fired from her job as hostess of Hooters for coping with customers who groped.
"I would tell them, if you want to keep your hand tied to your body, do not do that," and the manager told me, "You should let them hold you," he recalled. "I said: & # 39; I will not let them touch me and I will defend myself", and they fired me. They told me I had no other choice. "
Because the incident took place in the 1990s, before a new property was taken over by Hooters in 2011, Hooters can not respond to Yennie's indictment, said Claudia Levitas, Hooters' legal director. "What we can say, with 100% conviction," Levitas said in an email, "is that harassment is not tolerated at all in Hooters, we have a zero tolerance harassment policy and we provide extensive training to all of our managers ".
Yennie said she was then harassed by male customers at a nightclub where she worked in Atlanta. Twice, she was taken to her car late at night by men who, she said, tried to rape her. It never occurred to him to inform the police.
"It's not culture," he said. "We are conditioned to be grateful that they have decided not to hurt you."
Yennie, who works in statistics in Arizona, is now a married mother of two teenagers.
The #MeToo movement triggered some candid conversations with their children.
"We have had several discussions about what consent means," he said. "If she says at some point," no, "he should respect that, and if he does not, it's not the police he has to worry about, it's me."
"I felt I needed to say something"
Stephanie Angstadt was 17 years old, lived in a group home and "felt very isolated from the real world" when she saw the #MeToo by Milano tweet. She had been placed in protective custody in Mississippi after she said that her father had sexually abused her, beginning at age 15. (His father was investigated and the case was before a grand jury, but in the end he was not charged, according to the district attorney who oversaw the case)
Angstadt said she saw thousands of other women say #MeToo in response to Milano's tweet, which showed her she was far from alone. When she shared her own story, she was received with support.
"A stranger sent me a tweet to keep me strong," he recalled.
Now 18 and living alone, Angstadt is working as an expert in retail and is considering a career in law. Her experience makes her want to help other women.
"The more women talk, the more people will realize that there is a problem," he said.
"Until today, I still get angry."
When Greta Kirby saw Milano's tweet, the memories began to overflow.
More than four decades ago, when I was 24 years old and working in Nashville as a bookkeeper for a financial company, I had an older boss who was married and had grandchildren. One night, during a party at the office, she said: "He was on me." She escaped by promising her boss that she would meet him later, and then fled home. The next morning, her furious boss dismissed her.
Kirby went to a lawyer for help, but the lawyer said it was not worth filing charges because his former boss could prevent him from working in the city.
"It will be in every newspaper and a lot of people will believe that it's all your fault," Kirby said the lawyer told him.
"So I had to forget about that and I continued and found another job, and that was the end of that," Kirby continued. "To this day, I still get angry."
The incident led Kirby to return to school to study nursing, which she believed would be a safer field for women.
She was happy to lend her voice to #MeToo.
"Listening to people online and watching and listening to women tell their stories, I realized that I certainly was not the only person who was going through this," he said.
Earlier this year, Kirby ran for county commissioner in Smith County and won, defeating a male incumbent.
"I could not believe I was hearing this from a teacher"
Nora Yolles Young was in her first 20 years and in an archaeological dig with a group of students at the University of Redlands in California when one of the male students got drunk and attacked her, she said.
When she tried to talk to her male teacher about the situation, he rejected her, he said.
"He said:" Do not act like you do not know what you're doing, "Young recalled. "I said:" It seems you're saying I got what I asked for when this person tried to rape me. "And he said," Yes, and the kids will be kids. "I could not believe I heard this. of a teacher ".
Young said he finally left the class and the professor refused to give him credit for it. The school declined to comment. The professor did not respond immediately to requests for comments.
When Young saw Milano's tweet, he thought about the incident and decided to respond.
"I hoped it would create a broader empowerment conversation," he said.
Young, who is now 46 years old, worked for years as an archaeologist, but after September 11 she decided to become a hypnotherapist focused on helping others, especially women, to heal.
"This is the time to talk about it"
Michelle Bart was 24 years old on Halloween in 1992 when she went to a party with colleagues from the Colorado casino where she worked. She let a drunken co-worker sleep on her couch because he could not drive home. She woke up to discover that he was in his bed and had sexually assaulted her, he said.
"I never reported it," she said. "I did not want to lose my job."
To avoid his attacker, he requested a change of shift in the casino, although that meant less money. She has struggled for decades with the feeling that she was to blame for the assault.
When he posted #MeToo in response to Milano's Facebook post, some family members questioned whether he should make such a personal and painful story public.
"My mom asked:" Are you sure you should be talking about this? ", Bart said. "And I'm like:" Yes, this is the time to talk about it. We can not hide anymore. "
Bart, now a resident of the northwest, is the president and co-founder of the National Coalition of Women Against Violence and Exploitation, a non-profit organization that assists women and children who are victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in California. Washington and Oregon.
"The system is configured so that women do not want to introduce themselves"
The #MeToo movement was timely for Kristin Heckler, who had informed a teacher in her graduate school program at The New School about inappropriate behavior in the spring of 2016.
"He stared at my chest." He repeatedly said things that made me feel uncomfortable, "he recalled.
The fun was difficult, he said, but so was the process of informing him. There was a rumor that he only spoke because he wanted a better grade. Heckler believes that informing his teacher cost him career opportunities.
"The system is set up so that women do not want to show up," said Heckler, 30. "The theater world is totally based on connections, and burning the bridge to my department head definitely puts me in a deficit when it comes to finding work."
Even so, she believes that the presentation of a report helped other women. The professor left school shortly after the human resources department completed his investigation of Heckler's accusations.
The New School confirmed that the teacher is no longer working there, but declined to comment further. The professor did not respond to a request for comment.
Heckler, who now makes box office work and helps run a Manhattan-based flower truck, married his lifelong girlfriend over the weekend, one year after the launch of the #MeToo movement.
"The progress that women are making is slow. But I'm glad for the change, "he said." The #MeToo movement showed us that we have a voice and that it's time to talk. "
"When I see the president making fun of a survivor of sexual assault, I worry"
When Lily Axelrod saw Milano's tweet a year ago, she was surprised not how many women responded, but how many men were stunned.
"Many men did not seem to know that this was something that all their wives and women in their lives were going through," he said.
Axelrod, 31, an immigration lawyer, said the tweet brought back memories of a mentor who behaved inappropriately when she was a student.
She said she was cautiously optimistic about the #MeToo movement when it started. But recent events have stopped her, especially the recent meeting of President Donald Trump in Southaven, Mississippi, a city not far from hers, where she mocked the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which He accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of attacking her when they were in high school, an accusation that he denied.
"When I see the president making fun of a survivor of sexual assault, I worry," Axelrod said.
As the mother of a 2-month-old girl, Axelrod said she is more determined than ever to fight for gender equality.
"I hope for your good that the conversation will ultimately move us in a positive direction," he said.