#MeToo raising awareness of assault around nation, Ozarks

Published: Oct. 17, 2017 at 7:13 AM CDT
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"Me too." Two simple words have become a rallying cry on Twitter to stand against sexual harassment and assault.

The hashtag "me too" has dominated Twitter and Facebook for more than a day. The idea is to show the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, and some of the people adding their voices are from right here in the Ozarks.

It began with a Sunday tweet. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano started the trend, asking people who've been sexually harassed or assaulted to write two words: "me too." As of Tuesday morning, "#MeToo" had been Tweeted hundreds of thousands of times. The movement comes amid a growing number of sex abuse allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Some of the accusations go back decades.

Jenelle Johnson of Springfield didn't hesitate to share it on Facebook. When Johnson was 15, a fellow student sexually assaulted her on the school bus. She didn't start opening up about it until her late 30s.

"People hide it too much," said Johnson. "It's hidden. It's not therapeutic. I hid it for over 20 years. I thought keeping it inside and not telling anybody I wouldn't look like a victim, I wouldn't sound like a victim."

By sharing those two words, Johnson hopes it will encourage other victims to speak out. Incidentally, she credits her husband with helping her get through her ordeal.