The Week Ahead: #metoo movement celebrates 1 year anniversary

The MeToo blog of the European Parliament will be launched on Tuesday with the collaboration of parliamentary assistants, staff and with the support of liberal MEPs. The movement which emerged from the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the US, is celebrating this month its 1st anniversary.

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Illustrations: Maja Subotić Šušak

The new blog will be collecting accounts of sexual harassment at the European Parliament, whether they be inappropriate comments, touching or sexual assaults. Stories collected by members of the movement are often shockingly revealing: “I received an email once at two in the morning from a political advisor working at the European Parliament […] included a series of pictures of me taken at work without my consent, or knowledge”.

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Since 2014, the European Parliament has received around 15 complaints about both sexual and psychological harassment but only two of these led to convictions. It is also expected that the advisory committee will announce to put new measures in place, so from the next parliamentary term in 2019 MEPs will have to sign an ethical charter. In the committee of six members, there will be two assistants rather than only one. Victims will also be better protected, they will keep their salaries and work away from their harasser, if the crime has been proven.

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MEPs are also aware of serious allegations made concerning Parliament members and are keen on putting these measures in place. ALDE MEP Angelika Mlinar and FEMM committee member said: “Sexual abuse is the abuse of a position of power. But the problem is still under-reported as many victims are too afraid or ashamed to speak about it. The new blog will help to change this.”

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