Closing The Gap

Rose McGowan: After #MeToo, society has less tolerance for power abuse

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Media made people scared of the 'MeToo' movement, Rose McGowan says

It's been well over a year since #MeToo gained traction around the world, with a large number of sexual abuse survivors coming forward, to share their stories to raise awareness.

With this week marking 'International Women's Day', one of the leading voices who spoke out against sexual abuse in Hollywood, activist Rose McGowan, sat down with CNBC's Tania Bryer to discuss the progress that's been made.

"For me, #MeToo is simply a shorthand to discuss something that was previously not able to really be publicly discussed," the activist and writer said as part of "The CNBC Conversation. "

McGowan herself, finds it confusing when the media call #MeToo a "movement", as she says it can conjure up images that makes it seem like there are "thousands of women in the streets with pitchforks running after men — and that's really not the case."

Instead, the activist sees it more as 'Did this happen to you?' and another person responding with 'Me too'.

"That's literally all it is," McGowan stated.

Actor Rose McGowan and Founder of #MeToo Campaign Tarana Burke, embrace on stage at the Women's March / Women's Convention in Detroit, Michigan, on October 27, 2017.
RENA LAVERTY | AFP | Getty Images

'Me Too' itself dates back to 2006, when Tarana Burke founded the movement, to support survivors of sexual violence and provide pathways that would offer recovery.

Yet, the term received significant attention in 2017 after the #MeToo hashtag went viral — prompted by McGowan's former "Charmed" co-star Alyssa Milano — which saw people across the world share their stories about sexual abuse. The conversation came after several misconduct allegations emerged against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

McGowan was one of many women to come forward, who had accused the producer of alleged sexual harassment or assault. Weinstein has continued to maintain that all sexual relations he had were consensual, having denied all accusations. He is expected to go on trial later this year, following charges of sexually assaulting two women, Reuters reported.

Since October 2017, many industries across the world have been put under the microscope in regards to sexual abuse claims.

For McGowan, she has gone onto write "Brave", a memoir which reflects upon her personal life and covers her time in Hollywood. The activist that the book isn't about #MeToo, but rather bravery, and wants to inspire others to be courageous.

American activist, former actress, author, model and singer Rose McGowan attends a photocall during the annual Edinburgh International Book Festival at Charlotte Square Gardens on August 13, 2018 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Roberto Ricciuti | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Reflecting on what's happened in society since the subject of sexual abuse came to the forefront of people's agendas, McGowan explained to CNBC how people's response to sexual misconduct has transformed.

"The rest of it, is kind of pressing a button on societal reset, which I think we definitely need to do — and have done. And that's where I see it going," she said.

"I think we've done it and it will continue to reverberate, it's just we now have less tolerance for power abuse — on any level."

"Who should be allowed to make others feel small and scared? Nobody."

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MeToo and Time's Up impacts on the entertainment biz
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