Panel of local men to discuss #MeToo movement & sexual harassmen - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Panel of local men to discuss #MeToo movement & sexual harassment

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A panel of local men is set to discuss sexual harassment in San Luis Obispo County as part of the #MeToo movement.

The movement has gained traction on social media. For those not familiar, victims of sexual assault and harassment post those two simple words: #MeToo. Others have shared their personal stories of being survivors.
On Thursday, a panel of local men will discuss their own place in the #MeToo movement. It will take place Jan. 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the San Luis Obispo County Public Library.

The movement was actually launched a decade ago by an activist from Harlem, Tarana Burke, to aid underprivileged women of color affected by sexual abuse. 

Here locally, the Women's March back on Jan. 21, 2017 drew a crowd of approximately 10,000 people. Five-million others worldwide also joined in to give women a voice.

Following that, the #MeToo movement is gaining momentum. The organizer of the Women's March SLO says both go hand-in-hand.

"To us, it really feels like these are sister movements or sibling movements where people who have experienced sexual assault and are able to speak out now," said Dawn Addis of Women's March SLO.

On Thursday, five local male leaders will share their own perspectives.

"This is a serious and major issue that needs to have our attention," said Abe Lincoln, Executive Director of SLO Noor Foundation and panel member.

Matias Bernal, Interim Associate Director of RISE, is also on the panel.

"What we're looking for is to have San Luis Obispo be the first in the nation, leading the nation in saying that sexual harassment will not be tolerated," Bernal said. "We live here, we work here and we play a role in raising awareness."

Bernal hopes the discussion can move toward putting an end to gender-based violence.

"It's really up to us to look at ourselves and look at each other and say, 'what can we do stop this violence and create this culture of zero tolerance?'" Bernal added.

Lincoln says now is time to have this conversation.

"We need to figure out how to solve it and not let this momentum go away without making some meaningful strides," Lincoln concluded.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow, San Luis Obispo City Councilmember Dan Rivoire, and Cal Poly Men & Masculinity Program Coordinator Nick Bilich are also on the panel.

The public is invited to attend.

The Women's March SLO Resistance Rally will be held this Saturday, Jan. 20 at Mission Plaza from 12-4 p.m.  

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