#MeToo movement ripples in many parts of the world
Some examples of how the #MeToo movement has played out around the world as women seek to raise awareness about sexual misconduct and confront men who perpetrated it:
Even before #MeToo exploded in the U.S., a Japanese freelance journalist, Shiori Ito, was widely criticized after going public last year with rape allegations against a leading TV journalist. There is widespread reluctance among victims in Japan to report assaults; a 2015 government survey found that about three-quarters of rape victims had never told anyone, and just over 4 percent had gone to police.
#MeToo gained momentum in January when a female prosecutor, Seo Ji-hyeon, alleged she was groped by a senior Justice Ministry official during a funeral in 2010. President Moon Jae-in voiced support for the movement, even as new allegations targeted prominent men in art, entertainment, religion and literature. “We should take this opportunity, however embarrassing and painful, to reveal the reality and find a fundamental solution,” Moon told his top advisers.
Sexual misconduct became front-page news last year when Italian actress Asia Argento emerged as one of the main accusers in an expose by The New Yorker about Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein. But her accusation of rape generated a hostile backlash in Italy, with newspaper commentators accusing her of creating trouble. Similarly, Italian film director Fausto Brizzi received some supportive media coverage after several women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Some Danish women were dismayed when a film executive who co-founded the Zentropa production company with director Lars von Trier was cleared to return to work following an investigation into claims of sexual harassment. Peter Aalbaek Jensen, 61, was accused in November by nine women of workplace behavior that included groping and slapping their behinds. Danish officials conducted an assessment of the company in December and “found no workplace problems at the time of the probe.”
A prolific director of television dramas, Dieter Wedel, resigned in January as head of a theater festival following allegations of sexual misconduct. Wedel, 75, denied claims by several women that he pressured them for sex, saying the allegations left him “deeply disturbed and shaken.” He was the first prominent figure in Germany to be named since the #MeToo movement emerged last year.
A 21-year-old Palestinian-American, Yasmeen Mjalli, has sought to popularize #MeToo in the West Bank city of Ramallah, selling T-shirts, hoodies and denim jackets with the slogan “Not Your Habibti (darling)” as a retort for catcalls. She has faced some backlash from Palestinians who say that opposing Israel’s occupation should be the priority, not sexual harassment.