Alyssa Milano's tweet Sunday night sparked tens of thousands of responses from women around the world and revelations from numerous prominent Hollywood actresses within the first 24 hours, all revolving around two words: "Me too."
"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," Milano told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday. "The most important thing that it did was to shift the conversation away from the predator and to the victim."
On Sunday, the actress said, a friend of a friend on Facebook suggested something that struck a cord with her in terms of how to further the conversation surrounding Harvey Weinstein without giving too much credence to perpetrators. And so she wrote in a now-viral tweet: "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet."
By Monday night, more than 53,000 people had left comments and thousands of women had shared their stories of rape, sexual assault and harassment on social media, including actresses like America Ferrera, Anna Paquin, Lady Gaga, Rosario Dawson and Debra Messing.
Milano confirmed to the AP that she has her own "me too" story, but is opting not to share it right now, and instead hopes to keep the focus on others. "Really what's happening here is giving women the opportunity to come forward without having to go into detail about their stories if they don't want to," said Milano, a TV veteran since her days as a child star on Who's the Boss. "To see the numbers go up minute by minute, I get tears in my eyes thinking about it."
Also on Monday night, Hollywood stars Jennifer Lawrence and Reese Witherspoon also came forward with their own stories of sexual harassment and assault, respectively, during Elle's Women in Hollywood event.
"When I was much younger and starting out, I was told by the producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks," Lawrence said at the podium. "One girl before me had already been fired for not losing enough weight fast enough, and during this time a female producer had me do a nude lineup with about five women who were much, much thinner than me. And we all stood side by side with only paste-ons covering our privates."