The hashtag was launched by Sandra Muller, a French journalist, who called on women to use social media to “squeal on your pig” by posting their experiences of being sexually harassed.
“You too should give the names and the details of any sexual harassment at work. I am waiting…” tweeted Muller who set the ball rolling by telling how her former boss had commented on her breasts and promised to have sex with her “all night long”.
#balancetonporc !! toi aussi raconte en donnant le nom et les détails un harcèlent sexuel que tu as connu dans ton boulot. Je vous attends
— Sandra Muller (@LettreAudio) October 13, 2017
Her hashtag quickly became the number one trending hashtag in France and third worldwide.
“I am counting on you to break the omerta,” said a delighted Muller.
Many other women soon joined in, eager to speak out in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Giulia Fois, a radio journalist shared her own experience.
“An editor-in-chief, major radio station, small hallway, grabbing me by the throat, ‘one day I’m going to have sex with you, whether you want it or not,'” she tweeted.
The journalist said she had complained at the time but had been “neither believed nor heard”.
- The sexist French expressions you'll still hear at work
- Is France about to ban wolf-whistling in crackdown on street harassment?
The world of journalism appeared to be rife with sexual harassment judging by the number of tweets from female members of the profession.
Many were from women who had been harassed by their bosses when they were interns.
Some women chose to name and shame the men who had allegedly harassed them, including one former presidential candidate.
But the problem also appeared to deep rooted among university teaching with one victim saying her lecturer offered study classes in exchange for nude photos.
Marion Georgel, spokeswoman for French women’s rights group Osez le Feminisme heralded the reaction on Twitter.
“It is really positive to get them to speak out on this difficult topic of sexual or mora harassment,” she told 20 minutes.
“Especially because the person who launched the hashtag is speaking of harassment in a professional setting, where it is even more complicated to talk about for fear of losing their jobs.”
But Osez le Feminisme warns that women must go further than just tweeting about their experiences.
“For all the men who are not high profile like Harvey Weinstein, the responsibility falls on them first,” said the group’s spokesperson.
“They have to realize that women no longer want to be silent about this kind of action. Perhaps they will feel less confident to act in that way…. But if the denunciations stay on Twitter it will not change much.”