NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Despite the wintry weather, an outdoor rally was held Saturday to show support for survivors of sexual harassment and assault.
Demonstrators took a movement that began online with the hashtag #MeToo to the streets of Manhattan.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, dozens of people demonstrated in the snow and cold, some calling the weather appropriate to reflect the coldness of predators.
“The way the hashtag exploded on Twitter I think shows us that while we all thought we were alone, we’re not,” said Bernadette Walsh, of Tuckahoe, New York.
Sexual harassers and attackers are unmasked by the #MeToo movement when victims come forward, shedding shame and speaking out.
“In college, I worked at a bar to pay for school and I was constantly hit on,” a woman from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn said. “You just kind of deal with it, internalize it.”
“It opened a door,” said Dania Ramos, of Chelsea. “Many of the individuals here were never confident or comfortable speaking up before, and now there are so many people to support us.”
Among the accused are prominent men in entertainment, media and politics, leading to members of Congress stepping down.
The movement’s so-called “silence breakers” were chosen by Time magazine for its annual Person of the Year cover story.
It’s a movement with no sign of slowing down, but the hope is that one day it won’t be necessary, Carlin reported.
“I also hope it leads to actual changes so that a movement does not need to exist,” Upper West Side resident Graziella Reis-Trani said.
“It can be a male, a female, a child – we just need to be supportive and less judgemental,” said Cherice Murray, of St. Albans, Queens.
Organizers of the rally said the goal was to show strength in numbers – not just on social media, but now out in the streets.