Five years of #MeToo: what remains of this feminist movement that was to shake up society

Former film producer Harvey Weinstein, already convicted in New York, returns to American justice on Monday for a new trial for rape and sexual assault in Los Angeles, during which he faces up to 140 years in prison. A trial which comes a few days before the 5th anniversary of the #MeToo movement.

Her conviction in March 2020, followed by an immediate imprisonment and whose appeal was rejected, was a major victory for the feminist movement. How did it get so big and where are we today? Provence takes stock.

#MeToo: From a New York Times survey to a global wave

If you have been harassed or sexually assaulted write ‘Me Too’ in reply to this tweet“. With this sentence posted on Twitter, actress Alyssa Milano launched the wave #MeToo. She reacts to the Harvey Weinstein affair, revealed by a New York Times investigation published on October 5, 2017 and which will obtain the Pulitzer Prize in 2018. The journalists revealed the sexual predatory behavior of the American producer: in total, nearly 90 women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow or Rosanna Arquette, accused Harvey Weinstein harassment, sexual assault or rape.

By this New York Times investigation, the code of silence begins to crack and Alyssa Milano’s tweet generates millions of testimonials from women around the world. With #MeToo, they recount the assaults, rapes and sexual harassment they have suffered. The movement is then launched.

In addition to Harvey Weinstein, other celebrities are accused, the most famous of which remains, to date, actor Kevin Spacey. Dozens of testimonies accuse him of sexual assault and sexual harassment of young men.

In France too, women are seizing this wave of protests. Many personalities are speaking out, like the actress Adèle Haenel, the writer Vanessa Springora or even the journalist Sandra Muller. It is the latter who launched the #BalanceTonPorc. The taboo is starting to break in France too and many cases are breaking out: Eric Brion, Tariq Ramadan, Luc Besson… Or even more recently with the Patrick Poivre d’Arvor case.

The number of acts of sexual violence recorded by the police has exploded in five years

Knowing a resounding echo in the media, #MeToo has made it possible to free speech but also to raise awareness of violence against women. The number of acts of sexual violence recorded by the police has exploded in five years, from 37,500 in 2016 to 75,800 in 2021, according to the Ministry of the Interior. In his latest assessment “Insecurity and delinquency”, he notes a “change in victim complaint behavior” who, “in the climate of the Weinstein affair“, denounce more systematically the sexual violence suffered to the authorities, “including when they are dated“.

However, the fight does not seem ready to come to an end. Indeed, not all the facts denounced lead to criminal proceedings. A good number of complaints are also closed without further action, for lack of evidence or because they relate to prescribed facts.

For the gendarmes or the police, this sharp increase in complaints translates into difficulties. In a small police station in the east of France, the cupboards of the family protection brigade are overflowing with colorful shirts where proceedings for domestic violence, sexual assault or rape are waiting. Since the Metoo movement, “between five and ten“New complaints are filed every week, explains an official of the police station to AFP, on condition of anonymity.

Double the number of investigators specializing in domestic violence

According to the authorities, the police and gendarmerie services register more than 230,000 complaints each year for domestic violence and sexual violence. Constantly increasing figures: complaints of sexual violence (rape, attempted rape or sexual assault) have, for example, increased from 41,600 in 2017, the year of the MeToo movement, to 75,800 in 2021.

The Interior Ministry’s programming bill (Lopmi), examined from Tuesday in the Senate, plans to double the number of investigators specializing in domestic violence, or 2,000 additional agents.

Beyond these reinforcements, the commissioner pleads for a better assessment of the risks incurred by the victims, in particular via questionnaires, on the model of Spain. This, to adapt the investigations to the specificities of the complaints received, rather than following a “identical framework regardless of the facts“.

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Five years of #MeToo: what remains of this feminist movement that was to shake up society