Local women use #MeToo to speak out about sexual harassment

- In the wake of sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, people around the country are speaking out about being targets in their everyday lives.

Women and some men have started posting #MeToo on social media platforms letting others know they have also been harassed or abused. Some Houston women shared their stories of harassment with us to help raise awareness.

Denise Hamilton is the CEO of "Watch Her Work", but she has also worked in commercial real estate. She said, "We learn the 'rules'. Wear the boxy suit. Don't wear the great makeup, pull your hair back and put it in a bun, all the things we're supposed to do to make sure we don't attract male attention."

But Hamilton says those "rules" didn't keep a potential client from trying to force himself on her.

"I took a client to lunch," Hamilton said. "Followed all the rules, boxy gray suit, limited makeup, lunch not dinner all those rules. It's a great commission, I think we had a great meeting, walk out to the car and he pushes me up against the car and pins me and tries to kiss me."

Kimberly Stacy has been a massage therapist for almost 20 years and says while she hasn't been physically assaulted, she too has been harassed.

Stacy said, "People assume I'm a sex worker in some shape or form because I've chosen to put my hands on people for a living."

Then there's Betsy Ballard  who told us about her most egregious story of sexual harassment at the hands of a former coworker. Those details were too graphic for us to share. Ballard too posted "Me Too" in solidarity on Facebook.

Ballard said, "I felt empowered and strong because it gave me an opportunity to say 'Yea I've experienced it, I've seen it, it's wrong, what can we do to fix it?'"

It's that last question that left these ladies momentarily speechless. But they think the first step is already happening with people speaking up.

Hamilton said, "It lets people know we're not making it up, it's not in our heads and it's not rare."

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