Me Too March: Hundreds call for end to sexual misconduct - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Me Too March: Hundreds call for end to sexual misconduct

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(NEWS 8) - Survivors of sexual assault and harassment have been joining the #MeToo conversation on social media, breaking their silence to give others the courage to do the same and let them know that they aren't alone.

Hundreds of survivors and supporters took the conversation to the streets of Downtown San Diego on Saturday for the Me Too March commemorating the International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Marchers met at the Civic Center and heard speeches by survivors and supporters and participated in a women's drum circle and other collaborative entertainment. Then they trekked to the County Administration Center Downtown.

Along the way, News 8's Abbie Alford spoke with survivors and supporters about their individual challenges and what events like these can do for other women hesitant to speak up.

"I marched in '86 for Roe v. Wade," June Silverman, 78, said. "And we're still here."

Silverman said that the United States has come a long way since the days when she wasn't able to buy birth control, but thinks the country still has a long way to go. She participated in the march side-by-side with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. All three said they've been sexually harassed at least once in their life.

"When we go to school, when we go to work -- Me Too. And I don't want to see it again," Anita Raj, Silverman's daughter-in-law, said. Raj said she was sexually harassed at age 14 at a science fair.

"I don't think I've ever told anyone about it until today," Raj said.

Raj's daughter Isha Raj-Silverman,17, said at her first encounter with sexual harassment came at age 14 while as she walked to the La Jolla Library. She didn't tell her mother about the incident until years later when they were out walking together and were cat called.

"You blame yourself, you know?" she said. "You look at what you were wearing, thinking 'This isn't my fault. That's on them.'"

More and more women are gaining the courage to speak out against their abusers, especially victims of high-profile celebrities, as a wave of assault accusations continues in Hollywood and the popular media world.

"I really believe that this is the generation where we can make more of difference," Raj-Silverman said.

Plenty of men participated in the march also, and a lot of them told Alford that it's up to the male gender to change the culture of sexual harassment against women. 

"If we're going to change the rape culture, men have to take an active role and understand that it's also a men's issue," supporter Andre Jones said.

Raj added that it's important to empower women to speak out, but as a mother to a teenage boy, it's also important to teach young men to speak up when they notice something that's not ok.

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