#MeToo Pushed Companies to Seek New Resources, Change Policies

(Bloomberg) -- The #MeToo Movement did more than reveal the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the workplace. It also led millions in the U.S. to look for solutions, according to a new study by researchers from Harvard Medical School and University of California, San Diego.

Searches related to reporting and preventive training for sexual harassment and assault were up 30 percent over historical levels starting from Oct. 15 -- the day actress Alyssa Milano urged people to tweet “me too” if they had faced sexual violence -- to June 15.

The study, which will be published online Friday by JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at the volume of terms like "sexual", "training" and "reporting" in Google searches in the U.S. from Jan. 1, 2010 through June 15, 2018. They also found a significant spike in searches for terms including sexual harassment and assault during that same time period.

“The #MeToo movement has prompted substantial interest in not only sexual harassment and/or assault, but also actionable outcomes for reporting and prevention,” researchers wrote in the report.

Other signs point to the renewed interest in prevention. The companies that create workplace training videos also reported an increase in business after sexual misconduct allegations against now-disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein were first reported in The New York Times. The Society for Human Resource Management said about a third of its members changed the content and format of their anti-harassment training in the past 12 months.

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