Breaking News Emails
Hundreds of people gathered in support for victims of sexual assault and harassment on Sunday for a march and rally in California as a wave of women have come forward to speak out on the issue and abuses of power.
Marchers wore T-shirts bearing "Me Too" across the front, holding signs and chanting "stop the violence, stop the rape!" and "survivors, united, we'll never be divided" as they made their way to the CNN building on Sunset Boulevard.
"Rise up for the women of the world, for the women of the world rise up," they later chanted, some with fists raised in the air.
The demonstration began at 10 a.m. local time (1 p.m. ET) for the "Take Back the Workplace" and "#MeToo Survivors March" on Hollywood Boulevard and kicked off with a walk to the CNN building.
"This is 2017, the time is right for a reckoning for re-ordering of power," said television reporter Lauren Sivan during the "Take Back the Work Place" rally.
Sivan has accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of exposing himself in front of her while ordering her to "just stand there and be quiet" while he masturbated. Weinstein has denied all of the allegations against him.
"We're talking about egregious, egregious violations in the work lace that needs to end today," she said Sunday.
The #MeToo march was inspired by a social media campaign where victims of sexual assault and harassment came forward with their stories in solidarity following the series of allegations against powerful men in Hollywood, politics and beyond.
Over the weekend, another social media campaign went viral on Twitter, where people shared the hashtag #MeAt14 in response to the allegations that Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore forced a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979 when he was 32.
Lizz Winstead, co-creator of "The Daily Show" and founder of the "Lady Parts Justice League," said she was inspired to spread the hashtag after seeing her good friend Sarah Thyre post it with a photo of herself at age 14.
"One of my closest friends posted a picture of herself when she was 14 using the hashtag #MeAt14 and I just burst out crying," said Winstead.
She said it made her think of the report in the Washington Post where Moore is alleged to have forced a 14-year-old girl into a sexual encounter when he was a 32-year-old man. The Post interviewed three other women who said Moore pursued them when they were ages 16 to 18 and he was in his 30s.
Moore has denied the allegations and said they were "completely false and untrue" and that he was "not guilty of sexual misconduct with anyone."
"I thought about my own awkward self and I thought, you know what, we need to remind people what 14 is," she said.
Winstead posted a photo of herself at age 14, writing she was on the gymnastics team and sang in the choice. She encouraged others to do the same and share stories of who they were at that age.
WInstead said she was disturbed by Moore telling Fox News' Sean Hannity that he did not "remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother."
People quickly began sharing their stories, with some even telling their experiences of being abused and victimized at age 14.
Winstead said the response to the hashtag showed why many victims wait to come forward against their accusers, as the women accusing Moore said they did.
"So for people to weigh in with their insane lack of awareness about what it means to be somebody who has been victimized and to immediately blame a 14-year-old rather than grown man ... I don't know how that happens," she said.
"It's reminding us that these women that have come forward against Roy Moore, their experienced are not unique," she added.
She said she hoped that people coming forward helped other victims feel less isolated and that with nationwide attention on the issue, survivors and their supporters could "look to each other for support and demand proactive change."
The march and popularity of the hashtag also came just days after five women came forward to accuse comedian Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct dating back at least 15 years in a The New York Times report.
Louis C.K. admitted in a lengthy statement on Friday, "these stories are true" and that he has been "remorseful" of his actions.
Those accusations come following months of sexual misconduct allegations, including those against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. More than 85 women have accused him of misconduct spanning the last three decades. Weinstein has denied the claims through a spokesperson, who said that "any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."
Winstead said the allegations made her think of the victims who left their industries after facing harassment and assault, as well as victims who were not as high profile and feel they cannot come forward.
"How much brilliance have we lost because of these sexual predators who destroyed the careers of so many?" she asked.