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[VIDEO] In The Name of #MeToo, Women Talk About Their Sexual Assaults

It’s been some time since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, but #MeToo has been tweeted over 1.2 million times, with women using that as a platform to share their personal experiences with sexual assault. Most of the stories attached to the hashtag come from women eager to break their silence and bring a sense of validation to women everywhere. In a new video inspired by the hashtag, five women open up to The Cut about their various experiences of sexual harassment and assault. For many of the women in the video, feelings of guilt, confusion and anger still weigh heavily on their hearts.

“Even now I just sort of blame myself.”

Veronica Quezada was just 14 when the story took place. The writer for Money.com describes how a photographer attempted to prey on her by fetishizing her ethnicity – a technique most Latinas know all too well.

“He said, ‘You know Latinas are kind of this exclusive thing,'” Quezada explains in the video. “He was like ‘If you look at porn, there’s not a lot of Latinas in there and when there [are] Latinas in there they’re very successful videos.'”

Quezada admits that when her abuser ultimately convinced her to allow him to take photos of her for a Quinceañera advertisement, she knew there was something off.

“He said it was going to be for an ad, but I was just wearing my normal clothes” Quezada explains. “That felt a little weird…even now I just sort of blame myself. Like if I would have known, if I’d just said ‘no.'”

Their frustration dots the video as they describe being taken advantage of and feeling stripped of their power to speak up.

The Cut.com

“To this day, I don’t know what happened to these pictures. I don’t know what he did,” Quezada says.

She’s not the only woman suffering the affects of being taken advantage of. The five different women in the video share their own stories, all gut-churning in their shared experience of feeling mixed emotions. Some recall being abused by friends, and authority figures. Most detail assaults by male co-workers.

“I fell into every single trap.”

“We were on our way to a conference and he said, ‘Well, let’s stop by my house before we go,'” Lhisa Almashy, a program planner says. “And I was like ‘Okay’ and, again, I fell into every single trap. At that point I should have said ‘Absolutely not.'”

Like plenty of women with similar stories, this wasn’t the first time a man had tried to take advantage of her. Fortunately, she found the strength to fight off her co-worker and was able to escape.

“I didn’t know how to react to it other than saying ‘Oh. Thank you.'”

“He’d say ‘I don’t want to sound like a creepy grandpa, but your legs look great.’ And I didn’t know how to react to it other than saying ‘Oh. Thank you,'” says actress Charity Van Tassel about a male co-worker.

Later, in one of the most nail-on-the-head moments of the video, the actress explains why women don’t speak up.

“Its really hard for women in the business because you don’t want to lose your job. You want to be able to get a job,” she explains.

Seeing so many women step forward with their stories can be extremely empowering to witness. So many survivors are finding strength in both sharing and reading the stories of the millions of users posting #MeToo. The campaign is proving itself to be a healing circle for both those who decide to keep their story to themselves or share them in very public ways. For women, sexual harassment and assault can seem unrelenting and having a hashtag that empowers us to be vocal feels imperative. Particularly when such an opportunity can feel so rare.

Watch the full video.


It can be jarring to see so many victims speaking up about their abuse. If you or someone you know is struggling,  please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

Read: The Harvey Weinstein Scandal Is Bringing Up The Oliver Stone / Salma Hayek Scandal

Eager to take part in the #MeToo movement? Share this post on your wall to boost these women and their voices.

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When Emma Gonzalez Leads The March For Our Lives, She’ll Be Following In The Footsteps Of These Latina Civil Rights Leaders

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When Emma Gonzalez Leads The March For Our Lives, She’ll Be Following In The Footsteps Of These Latina Civil Rights Leaders

As you gear up and rally to march for our lives this weekend, you might be completely in awe of the power and effect of Emma Gonzalez. The high school student from Parkland, Fl has, along with the great efforts of her peers, rallied cities and communities across the globe to fight back against the NRA and the inaction of political leaders who have long held the power to put an end to gun violence. For many of us, it’s exciting to see a Latina show the world that once again we are forces to be reckoned with. But long before Gonzalez called B.S. and became the face of a growing national movement, other Latina activists had a huge hand in changing the course of our history.

Here’s a look at seven of some of history’s most powerful Latina activists who led marches and fought for your civil rights.

Sylvia Mendez

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When it comes to the desegregation of schools in the country, American history often credits the case of Brown v. Board of Education for the changes. Barbara Rose Johns is also the one who is most typically considered to be the face of that movement after she led a 450-student walkout at a high school in Virginia in 1951.

But history has largely written out the work of Sylvia Mendez an American civil rights activists of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent who played a key role in the integration movement back in 1946.

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Mendez v. Westminster was a case sparked by Mendez’s rejection from an all-white school in California back in 1943 when she was just eight years old. Mendez’s parents sued the school district and the landmark case which was ultimately settled in 1947 successfully desegregated public schools  in California making it the first U.S. state to do so.

Dolores Huerta

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As a fierce civil rights activist and labor leader, Dolores Huerta became a tireless advocate of the United Farm Workers union. The American-born Latina of Mexican descent originally started out her career as an elementary school teacher. After seeing kids in her class come to school hungry and in need of new shoes, she decided she would help organize their parents.

She started to fight for economic improvements for Latino farm workers and pressed local government organizations to improve barrio conditions.

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In 1962, she co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (now known as the United Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee) with César Chávez. Her non-violent strikes and protests led to her 22 arrests. In 1997 she was named one of the three most important women of the year in by Ms. magazine.

Carmen Perez

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In 2017, Perez helped lead the country in its largest protest in U.S. history as a co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington.

In her 20 year career as an activist, Perez has dedicated her advocacy to some of today’s most important civil rights issues including violence against women, mass incarceration, gender inequality and community policing.

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Before the Women’s March she helped launch a 9-day 250-mile march from New York City to Washington, DC called March2Justice which implored congressional lawmakers to turn their attention to the nation’s police justice crisis.

Berta Cáceres

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Best known for leading a campaign that opposed a dam on the Gualcarque River, Cáceres was an award-winning Indigenous environmental activist. In 2015, the Honduran environmentalist received the Goldman Environmental Prize for helming the grassroots effort that pushed the world’s largest dam builder to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca Dam at the Río Gualcarque.

Because of her efforts the river that was saved and considered to be sacred by the Lenca people, was still able to provide the nearby tribe access to water, food, and medicine.

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On March 3, 2016, Berta Cáceres was assassinated for her activism when two assailants broke into her home and shot her. Her murder sparked international outrage and brought attention to the fact that Honduras is the most dangerous country in the world for activists who fight to protect forests and rivers.

The Mirabal Sisters

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Patria, Dedé, Minerva, and María Teresa Mirabal were four sisters from the Dominican Republic who ferociously opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and became known as Las Mariposas. In 1959, after witnessing a = massacre executed by the Trujillo regime the sisters were sparked into activism and rallied communities into public protests that renounced Trujillo’s rule.

Three of the sisters, Minerva, María Teresa, and Patria, were murdered for their advocacy when they were beaten to death by associates of the government.

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Following the death of Las Mariposas, Dominicans across the island decided they had had enough. Six months later, Trujillo’s dictatorship was brought down when he was assassinated.

Sylvia Rivera 

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Well before activists like Harvey Milk and figures like Caitlyn Jenner made waves, there was Sylvia Rivera. The Latina born and raised in New York City had Puerto Rican and Venezuelan roots and a tragic story when she first began to carve out a place for trans people in the American gay liberation movement. 

Rivera was a self-identified drag queen and transwoman who participated in the Stonewall riots of 1969 and soon after founded Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Marsha P. Johnson.

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In 1970 she led trans activists in the country’s first Gay Pride march, then known as Christopher Street Liberation Day March and in the years after she delivered fervent speeches that called for the support of LGBTQ people of color and who were homeless.

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Michelle Obama Keeps It Real About ‘Leaning In’ Saying It ‘Doesn’t Work All The Time’

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Michelle Obama Keeps It Real About ‘Leaning In’ Saying It ‘Doesn’t Work All The Time’

There’s countless reasons why former First Lady Michelle Obama is so beloved. For eight years the world saw a woman who made life look effortless. She easily transitioned from being a mom, wife, feminist, health nut, without missing a beat, all the while keeping it classy.

Now with the release of her memoir “Becoming,” we are getting an even more authentic look at this remarkable woman in a way we’ve never seen or heard before.

On Dec. 1, in a rare and candid moment during her book tour in Brooklyn, Obama kept things honest about the realities of the “lean in” women’s movement.

Speaking at Barclays Center on Saturday evening, Obama candidly touched on the struggles of ensuring a functioning work-life balance. “That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same time. That’s a lie,” Obama told an audience that had come to see her on her Becoming book tour. “And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that shit doesn’t work all the time.”

The amused crowd erupted at her blunder causing Obama to quickly apologize for her blunder. “I forgot where I was for a moment! I thought I was at home y’all. I was getting real comfortable up in here.”

The term was first coined by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her 2013 book in which she said in order for women to achieve success, women need to project confidence and “sit at the table” in order to be heard. The way to do physically do that is by “leaning in.”

Sandberg herself said earlier this year that “leaning in” isn’t as effective as she once believed because women weren’t better off today than they were in 2013.

“We are stuck at less than 6 percent of the Fortune 500 CEO jobs and their equivalent in almost every country in the world,” she said in USA Today. “There were 19 countries run by women when “Lean In” was published. Today there are 11. Congressional numbers have inched up a tiny bit. And so, overall, we are not seeing a major increase in female leadership in any industry or in any government in the world, and I think that’s a shame.”

The term “lean in” was first coined by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg in her 2013 book in which she said in order for women to achieve success they need to project confidence and “sit at the table” in order to be heard. According to Sandberg, the way to physically do this is by “leaning in.”

Sandberg herself said has said that “leaning in” isn’t as effective as she once believed because women weren’t better off today than they were in 2013. Last year the COO remarked that women “are stuck at less than 6 percent of the Fortune 500 CEO jobs and their equivalent in almost every country in the world,” she said in USA Today. “There were 19 countries run by women when ‘Lean In’ was published. Today there are 11. Congressional numbers have inched up a tiny bit. And so, overall, we are not seeing a major increase in female leadership in any industry or in any government in the world, and I think that’s a shame.”

It didn’t take long for Twitter to reveal just how much they loved seeing Obama get comfy.

If you were one of the 19,000 people at Barclays that night, you’ll definitely want to tell your kids about it one day.

It’s timeless advice from a timeless lady.

It might be true that you can’t have it all, but let’s be real, Obama will always be pretty darn close in our eyes.

It was clearly a night of laughs, cheers, and tears.

We can’t wait to hear what she’ll say next. She’ll return to Barclays on Dec. 19.

READ: Michelle Obama Talks About Going High At Times When Donald Trump’s Lowest of Lows Threatened The Lives Of Her Children

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