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"This was the great unleashing that turned the # MeToo hashtag into a rallying cry. The phrase was first used more than a decade ago by social activist Tarana Burke as part of her work building solidarity among young survivors of harassment and assault. A friend of the actor Alyssa Milano sent her a screenshot of the phrase, and Milano, almost on a whim, tweeted it out on Oct. 15. "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," she wrote, and then went to sleep. She woke up the next day to find that more than 30,000 people had used #MeToo. Milano burst into tears. wedding outfits with lace fabric

"At first, those speaking out were mostly from the worlds of media and entertainment, but the hashtag quickly spread. "We have to keep our focus on people of different class and race and gender," says Burke, who has developed a friendship with Milano via text messages. By November, California farmworkers, Pascual among them, were marching on the streets of Hollywood to express their solidarity with the stars.

"Women were no longer alone. "There's something really empowering about standing up for what's right," says Fowler, who has grown comfortable with her new reputation as a whistle-blower. "It's a badge of honor."

TIME Person of the Year 2017: The Silence Breakers The voices that launched the movement against sexual