Amid Sexual Assault Scandals and Outrage, #MeToo Experts Debate What Comes Next for Movement

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — In recent weeks, from Hollywood to Washington, D.C., high-profile sexual assault allegations and charges drew global #MeToo outcry. Yesterday, at an event hosted by the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM), actress, author and social justice humanitarian Ashley Judd, who was among the first to go on record with revelations against Harvey Weinstein, joined in a provocative panel discussion to explore the #MeToo movement’s progress.

“As an activist, I’ve witnessed the power that our voices have to change the world,” said Judd. “When we stand together, empowering each other, no one can control us because our unity is the key to ending patriarchy.”

In conversation with Harvard Law’s Diane Rosenfeld, author of The Bonobo Sisterhood: Revolution Through Female Alliance, National Women’s Law Center CEO Fatima Goss Graves – whose organization houses the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund – and 2022 TIME Woman of the Year Amanda Nguyen, whose organization, Rise, seeks to protect the civil rights of sexual assault and rape survivors, the speakers addressed the resurgence of sexual misconduct controversies. As activists in their own right, each with deep experience protecting and empowering survivors, their insight demonstrated what the future holds for the #MeToo movement.

“Pervasive sexual violence against women can only end when we prioritize alliances and defending one another in the face of aggression,” said Rosenfeld. “We do not need to reinvent the wheel because the solution already exists – all we need to do is look to the matriarchal society of the bonobos.”

“In the time since the outcry from the #MeToo movement, we’ve seen ‘rocket ship-style’ change, from the ways in which our culture shifted to the change in our laws,” said Goss Graves. “Justice has always been, and will continue to be, at the center of our advocacy for sexual assault survivors.”

Moderated by Frédérique Irwin, president of the National Women’s History Museum, with opening remarks from Ms. Magazine executive editor Kathy Spillar, the panel explored a potential solution to ending sexual violence against women – looking to the matriarchal world of bonobos. Often called our closest living ancestors, the primate species Rosenfeld highlights throughout her book serve as an inspiration for self-defense and solidarity.

“Hope drives my fight and desire for a world where we all feel safe to exist freely, where our laws – from the local level to international – protect our dignity,” said Nguyen.

“The world has once again been inundated with harrowing tales of sexual assault and harassment; with these stories resonating deeply across the globe. As we know, history repeats itself, but tonight, our solidarity here is a step towards shattering the dynamics in place that perpetuate sexual harm against women and vulnerable communities,” said Irwin.

About the National Women's History Museum
Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) is an innovative museum dedicated to uncovering, interpreting, and celebrating women’s diverse contributions to society. A renowned leader in women’s history education, the Museum brings to life the countless untold stories of women throughout history, and serves as a space for all to inspire, experience, collaborate, and amplify women’s impact—past, present, and future. We strive to fundamentally change the way women and girls see their potential and power.

The NWHM fills in major omissions of women in history books and K-12 education, providing scholarly content and educational programming for teachers, students, and parents. We reach more than four million visitors each year through our online content and education programming and, in March 2023, mounted our first physical exhibit at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, DC, We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC. The Museum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and visit us at