Unofficial Reporting in the #MeToo Era

27 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2019 Last revised: 24 Mar 2020

Date Written: December 20, 2018


In the age of #MeToo, victims of sexual misconduct are coming forward en masse to allege abuse, finding strength in numbers and a growing cultural responsive- ness to their claims. Facilitated by innovative technologies, #MeToo is sparking the creation of new channels for reporting abuse — channels intended to bypass the laws and rules that prohibit sexual misconduct. To make sense of this unexamined development, a proposed taxonomy classifies informal avenues of complaint into four distinct categories: the Traditional Whisper Network, the Double Secret Whis- per Network, the Shadow Court of Public Opinion, and the New Court of Public Opinion. While unofficial reporting can advance important ends, the rise of infor- mal accusation also raises concerns that bear directly on the need to enhance for- malized accountability for sexual assault and harassment.

Suggested Citation

Tuerkheimer, Deborah, Unofficial Reporting in the #MeToo Era (December 20, 2018). 2019 University of Chicago Legal Forum 273, Available at SSRN:

Deborah Tuerkheimer (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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