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#MeToo Sparks National Discussion On Sexual Assault

Many survivors are sharing their stories after a tweet by actress Alyssa Milano.
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#MeToo Sparks National Discussion On Sexual Assault

If you're on any type of social media, you've probably noticed #MeToo flooding your feed.

That's because on Sunday, actress Alyssa Milano posted to Twitter, "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet."

By Monday, tens of thousands of people responded across multiple platforms, including other celebrities like Lady Gaga, Gabrielle Union, Rosario Dawson and Viola Davis.

The post reveals what many people already anecdotally know: The scale of sexual assault and harassment, specifically toward women, is massive.

Almost one out of every five women are rape survivors, according to 2012 data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And not all instances of rape are reported.

Many of these crimes go unreported for a variety of reasons, including a fear of not being believed. False reports account for about 2 to 8 percent of claims. That's about the same rate as for other felonies.

According to the latest data available from the Department of Justice, in 2015 over 431,000 people over the age of 11 were sexually assaulted or raped. That's about one incident every 73 seconds.

#MeToo started as film producer Harvey Weinstein stands accused of sexually harassing and assaulting dozens of women involved in the entertainment industry.

Last year, almost 13,000 people reported being sexually harassed at their workplace, and most of those reports were made by women.

On Monday, Milano told the Associated Press, "My hope is people will get the idea of the magnitude, of just how many people have been affected by this in the world, in our lifetimes, in this country."