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In saying #MeToo, Alyssa Milano pushes awareness campaign about sexual assault and harassment

 (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)
(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

The #MeToo campaign on social media, which Alyssa Milano initiated on Sunday, is seeing stars including Evan Rachel Wood, Sophia Bush, Rosario Dawson, Lady Gaga and more speaking up as survivors of sexual violence, along with plenty of people who aren't famous. 

"If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet," Milano tweeted, saying the hashtag idea was "suggested by a friend" who noted that perhaps getting multiple voices to chime in with that status "might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."

FULL COVERAGE: Harvey Weinstein scandal

The "Charmed" actress isn't the first to seize on the phrase "me too."

Tarana Burke, an organizer and youth worker who's a sexual assault survivor herself, has been working on "me too" since the mid-2000s — particularly with young women of color — as a means of what she calls empowerment through empathy.

"Somebody asked me, does this [campaign] amplify your work? And it does in a certain way, but also when this hashtag dies down, and people thinking about it, I'll still be doing the work," Burke told The Times on Monday. 

To keep the ball rolling, she said, celebrity survivors could disclose not only their status but also what kind of personal work they've done to recover — "their trajectory for healing."

"For me, it's about helping people find an entry point to healing," explained Burke, who gave the keynote address at the 2014 March to End Rape Culture in Philadelphia. "They cannot just let it be a hashtag."

Of course, even if the current campaign has morphed a bit from Burke's work so far, having celebrities' social media reach behind it doesn't hurt. Here are a few of the folks who've weighed in so far. 

Lady Gaga, who went public at the 2016 Oscars as a victim of sexual assault, tweeted only the hashtag on Sunday, as did Ali Fedotowsky-Manno of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," Tatiana Maslany of "Orphan Black" and Kristin Bauer of "True Blood," to name a few. 

"Westworld" star Wood went into more detail in appearing to offer an explanation about why she hadn't told her story sooner than 2016. 

"Because I was shamed and considered a 'party girl' I felt I deserved it," Wood tweeted Sunday. "I shouldnt have been there, I shouldn't have been 'bad.'"

OPINION: Survivors of sexual violence don't owe anyone our stories. Here's why I'm telling mine. #MeToo

More than a quarter-million people were discussing #MeToo on Facebook around midday Monday, and Instagram had almost 350,000 posts tagged with that label. 

"#MeToo And I want you too know, THEY will always be WRONG, but YOU can end up STRONG!," "NCIS" actress Pauley Perrette tweeted Sunday. A day later, she retweeted a story about losing her virginity to rape when she was 15. 

Rose McGowan, who has been a key, outspoken figure in the Harvey Weinstein scandal, tweeted "#metoo" along with quotes from author-filmmaker-scholar Jackson Katz, whose Mentors in Violence Prevention program focuses in part on bringing men and boys into the conversation around sexual violence. 

Hilarie Burton, who went public last week to accuse Ben Affleck of groping her in 2003 during a taping of "Total Request Live" — he has since apologized — posted to the hashtag on Instagram.

Meanwhile, conservative commentator Dana Loesch, in a series of tweets, talked about threats of sexual violence she'd received in response to her political views, especially her support of 2nd Amendment rights.

Also popping up along with the #MeToo campaign were comments asking why the discussion didn't specifically include men, people of color and non-binary people. 

The issue of sexual assault is "bigger than Harvey Weinstein. It's bigger than Bill Cosby. It's bigger than R. Kelly. And we have to let young people know that healing is possible ... that joy is possible. It's our job as adults and our job for each other," Burke said. 

"Nobody is floored by the realization that Hollywood is riddled with sexual predators ...," she continued. "For every Harvey Weinstein, there's a Joe Blow who's doing the same thing in his community."

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