The great #MeToo moments outside the United States – Times of India


PARIS: Five years on from the dawn of #MeToo in the United States, AFP looks at how the campaign to end sexual harassment and assault has reverberated around the world, from homegrown hashtags and landmark cases to anti-feminist backlash.
In Sweden, a bastion of progressive gender policy, the #MeToo movement erupted at the Swedish Academy, which awards the annual Nobel Prize in Literature.
For the first time in 70 years, the Academy postponed the award in 2018 after several women accused Jean-Claude Arnault, the French husband of one of its members, of sexual assault.
Arnault, head of an influential cultural club in Stockholm, was sentenced to two years in prison for rape.
The government seized the momentum to push through a new law that defines all sex without explicit consent as rape, regardless of violence or threats.
In 2018, an alleged gang rape case brought thousands of people onto Spanish streets.
Five men, calling themselves “The Wolf Pack”, bragged in a WhatsApp messaging group about having sex with a teenager during the Pamplona bull run.
They faced charges of rape and were convicted of the lesser felony of sexual abuse, which led to angry “I believe you, sister” cries from protesters, which became a mantra of solidarity with abuse victims around the world.
In June 2019, the country High Council overturned the verdict and found all five men guilty of rape and increased their sentences to 15 years each.
In 2022, Spain tightened its rape laws by introducing a Swedish law on explicit consent to sex.
In 2018, tens of thousands of women demonstrated for weeks in South Korea over men secretly making spycam videos of women in public toilets and locker rooms.
They were the largest women’s protests in South Korea and resistance was swift, dominating the 2022 presidential election.
Then-candidate Yoon Suk-yeol vowed to abolish the gender equality ministry in an effort to appeal to young men dissatisfied with #MeToo.
He won the election, but only by a thin margin after women mobilized in support of his opponent.
The most prominent case in India involved a journalist who accused a newspaper editor and junior foreign minister, MJ Akbar, of sexual harassment.
Other women made similar claims against Akbar, who stepped down as minister in October 2018. He lost a subsequent high-profile defamation lawsuit against the journalist, Priya Ramanic.
Men in Bollywood, business, journalism, politics, comedy and even cricket were also hit with abuse allegations.
Hashtags #AmInext and #MenAreTrash became the rallying cry to denounce violence against women in South Africa after the August 2019 brutal rape and murder of a student at a Cape Town post office.
The government declared violence against women a national crisis in South Africa, with a woman being murdered every three hours.
A member of the Tunisian Parliament, Zouhair Makhloufsparked the #EnaZeda (“me too” in Arabic) movement in his country in October 2019 when a schoolgirl photographed him sexually harassing her on her way to school.
Makhlouf was sentenced to one year in prison in 2021, sparking a massive flood of testimonies of sexual harassment.
In November 2019, Chilean feminist collective Las Tesis performed a song and dance in Santiago on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, ending with the chant “The rapist is you”, depicting violence against women as a systemic problem, used by state agents to contain them.
The anthem – titled “A Rapist in Your Path” – quickly went viral and was performed at protests around the world.
Las Tesis made Time Magazine’s 2020 list of 100 most influential people.
A former bookstore owner was the target of a spate of #MeToo-style convictions in Iran in 2020, with at least 20 women accusing him of rape and spitting their drinks.
The claims against Keyvan Emamverdi sparked widespread anger in the Islamic republic, where people used the hashtag #tadjavoz (rape) to share anonymous accounts of attacks.
The bookseller was sentenced to death in July 2022 for “corruption on Earth”.
Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community was forced to reckon with sexual violence in 2021 following allegations of abuse against several of its leading figures, including children’s author and rabbi Chaim Walder.
Walder committed suicide after claiming he sexually assaulted nearly two dozen people, including children, which he denied.
Another prominent ultra-Orthodox figure who got caught up in the “Lo Tishtok” or “You Shall Not Be Silent” movement was Yehuda Meshi-Zahav. He died in June 2022 after also attempting suicide in 2021.
Meshi-Zahav was charged with assault and rape of both adults and minors.

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