#MeToo anniversary shows power of social movements, says BU expert with new book

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A Brandon University professor and his partner, lauded for their expertise around the social and legal landscape of sexual misconduct, will launch their new book in Brandon this week at the five-year anniversary of the start of the #MeToo movement.

In October 2017, Hollywood star Alyssa Milano posted to Twitter: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

“The online movement that she sparked reignited awareness of sexual misconduct and led to a long-overdue accounting for powerful people who had gotten away with odious behaviour for too long,” says Dr. Christopher Schneider, a BU professor of sociology who co-wrote the new book with Dr. Stacey Hannem from the Department of Criminology at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Their new book, Defining Sexual Misconduct: Power, Media, and #MeToo, will be launched in Brandon on Thursday, Oct. 13, in an evening event in BU’s Clark Hall, room 212 (moved from room 001 to allow increased attendance), from 5–7 p.m. Presented by BU’s Department of Sociology and the BU Gender and Women’s Studies Program, the event will feature a conversation with the authors, followed by a book signing and reception. Books will be available for purchase for $35 (cash only) with all proceeds going to the Brandon Food Rescue Store.

The book is already attracting glowing reviews, including endorsements from luminaries like Dan Savage, Susan Fowler, and Dorothy Smith, who was among the most important feminist sociologists of the 20th century.

Milano herself calls the book “required reading.”

The book explores four decades of shifting public discourse around sexual misconduct, helping illustrate the broader social trends that shaped the impact of #MeToo. Now, five years after that moment, some of the original perpetrators are attempting comebacks, while reports of sexual misconduct continue to climb.

“You only need to glance at the ongoing Hockey Canada scandal to see that sexual misconduct remains of pressing and timely concern,” Schneider says. “It will take continued and concerted effort, but #MeToo shows the power that people have to push back against sexual misconduct.”

Hannem adds that pushing back is just a start.

“Continued and open conversations about the realities of sexual violence are necessary to take the #MeToo movement from a movement of public awareness to a movement of action and accountability,” she says. “More changes are needed.”

Helping drive the conversation, Schneider and Hannem have recently penned columns for outlets like the Globe and Mail, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the National Post, and Foreword Reviews.

The book launch helps lead into a weekend of activity on campus for Homecoming 2022.

Following their Brandon book launch, Drs. Schneider and Hannem will also be giving a public talk for the Winnipeg Library, over the noon hour on Friday, Oct. 14.


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