Wellington blogger threatened after series of #MeToo posts

Wellington blogger threatened after series of #MeToo posts
Photo credit: Supplied

A Wellington #MeToo blogger says she's received anonymous threats after speaking out about sexual assault and harassment.

Employees at multiple law firms and a Government agency have also been prohibited from associating with her blog in any way, she claims.

The global #metoo movement was spurred by the Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood.

Legal researcher Zoë Lawton set up a blog last month to give a platform to survivors to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault in New Zealand workplaces, and has noticed that a culture of fear is stopping people from speaking out.

"I've received anonymous threats and have been blacklisted by several law firms and a Government agency, meaning that staff have been told not to post anything to the blog or associate themselves with me by liking or sharing anything I have said about the blog on social media," Ms Lawton said.

After it went live one month ago, over 150 submissions have been posted on the blog and it's clocked up tens of thousands of views.

"Women and men have spoken out about sexual harassment and bullying perpetrated by CEOs and partners of law firms, senior managers in Government departments, judges, as well as senior university staff," Ms Lawton said.

"My main concern is that there are so many people who want this behaviour to stop but are too afraid to come forward.

"This is evident from the many emails I have received and is also reflected in the posts submitted for the blog."

Ms Lawton says she's heard from people who are too afraid to even engage with media coverage of sexual assault and harassment on social media, in case their employer or colleagues noticed.

"We have a lot of work to do to get the point where people aren't terrified their career will be over or that they will suffer any kind of backlash for coming forward," she said.

On April 9, Ms Lawton will shut down the blog and then present a full copy of the submissions to Justice Minister Andrew Little and the New Zealand Law Society.

"I hope those who have experienced sexual harassment and bullying can see that they are not alone and that there are a lot of people in the legal profession who support them and want things to change," Ms Lawton said.

"I also hope that perpetrators read the blog and understand that what they have done is totally unacceptable."


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