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2010

The hashtag #prataomdet (talkaboutit) breaks the silence

On December 14 2010 the journalist Johanna Koljonen starts a discussion on Twitter about how to talk about the gray areas surrounding sexual harassment.

The tweet that starts it all.

The discussion is based on the charges of rape against Julian Assange, and how the two women who accused him are challenged online. Two days later the hashtag #prataomdet is launched, and it becomes a forum for women to talk about their experience with sexual harassment, several years before #metoo does the same internationally. Johanna Koljonen also writes a column in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter:

"I am not alone. Hundreds of people have shared their experiences online. Tens of news papers have joined in. We are everywhere, we who need to talkaboutit. For me it is important to talk about my self image and the nuances of shame. Somebody else shares their raw story of a brutal rape. A third writes about the sorrow of not wanting to have sex with their loved one. A fourth about sexual harassment at work", she writes.

More journalists and columnists follow, which garners some attention from abroad, while women and men on Twitter keep talking about what they have been subjected to. The silence is broken.

– This will be something that future studies about Twitter will notice and write about, I will do so myself, writes Media researcher Anu Koivunen, at the instutute for film studies at the Stockholm university.

The campaign, and two of its spokes people Johanna Koljonen and Sofia Mirjamsdotter, are awarded the grand prize for journalism. Some of the tweets are issued in a book.

An English hashtag, #talkaboutit, also starts spreading, but it will be years until the main event of #metoo happens.

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