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#MeToo rally in downtown Vancouver highlights issue of sexual assault and harassment

WATCH: More voices are speaking out against sexual harassment in the #MeToo campaign, with more than 100 people attending a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Nadia Stewart reports.

A rally was held in downtown Vancouver on Saturday morning in support of people who’ve come forward to share their experiences of sexual assault and harassment.

Saturday’s MeToo Rally was inspired by the recent #MeToo hashtag campaign, which saw women post “me too” to their social media pages to highlight the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and violence.

More than 100 people gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery as women shared stories of sexual harassment and abuse and called on others to step up and speak out.

Organizer Jodie Ortega said Saturday’s rally aimed to illustrate that behind each one of those tweets is a real person with a story to tell.

“We wanted to take the #MeToo hashtag out of the realm of Facebook, the internet, and bring it to a public space because #MeToo is about a conversation between survivors, an exchange of empathy… letting people know that they’re not alone,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for survivors and allies to come together.”

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WATCH: Globalnews.ca coverage of the #MeToo campaign

In the wake of allegations of harassment and assault by film executive Harvey Weinstein, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted that a friend had suggested writing “me too” as a status to allow people to understand the magnitude of the problem.

#MeToo struck a chord with many social media users, so much so that they were willing to make their stories public.

— With files from Arti Patel and Reuters

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