Sexual assault survivor launches Vote Me Too PAC to elect female candidates amid #MeToo movement

Sarah Sherman, 43, explains how she was inspired by the #MeToo movement.

The #MeToo campaign that empowered victims of sexual assault and led to the downfall of men, from Harvey Weinstein to Matt Lauer, was a “reckoning” for Sarah Sherman.

"I was on my computer at all hours just reading, reading, reading," said Sherman, 43, who said she was sexually assaulted while in high school.

“#MeToo is something that's not going away and it's exposed this giant power imbalance in our country, and it's reminded women of it,” she said. “We're putting it into terms that we understand and can do something about.”

Sherman decided to do something about the "giant power imbalance" in government by forming her own Super PAC to help elect female candidates in the U.S. House and Senate in 2018 and 2020.

Women currently comprise 19.6 percent of the 535 members in the U.S. Congress, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

A record-breaking number of women -- 309 -- have filed to run for a U.S. House seat in 2018, according to the Associated Press.

"I thought, I have a desk. I have a computer. I'm doing this,” Sherman said of launching the Vote Me Too PAC this year.

"I had to research, ‘What do I do? What do I get at the bank? What kind of PAC do I have to have?'" she recalled. "I had to learn all about it. And this has changed my everyday [life].”

Sherman first began thinking about what more she could do for women in politics after Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election. Sherman was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who marched in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., the day after Trump’s inauguration.

"I just remember seeing all the signs covering all the monuments and in trash cans and they were going to be cleaned up the next day,” she said. “And I thought, 'This cannot be thrown in the trash. This collective feeling of women's power cannot be thrown away.'"

It was at the end of a U.S. Senate race in Alabama in December 2017 that Sherman said she realized her PAC could stand apart by creating edgy and compelling video for female candidates.

During the race, Republican candidate Roy Moore faced accusations from several women of sexual misconduct, claims he has strongly denied. Sherman said she recognized the power of female accusers sharing their stories on video.

"I thought video is so compelling and this is sitting at my fingertips,” said Sherman, whose husband works in video production and helped the campaign of Moore’s opponent, Democratic candidate Doug Jones, who would go on to win the election.

"I said, 'We need to start making videos for women who can't afford them,’” Sherman recalled. “I thought, I don't want to run for office but I can do this. I can support women who are running for office.”

Sherman is focused on raising small contributions at the grassroots level in order to purchase ad buys for the videos, which she plans to offer to female candidates either for free or at-cost.

Super PACs are allowed to receive "unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, labor unions and other PACs" in order to finance independent political activity and independent expenditures, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

Sherman said she was told early on by one fundraiser that more than half of donations to PACs come from white men. She remains undeterred, focusing on giving women an opportunity to donate as little as $5.

"I am probably in a boys' club," she said of leading a PAC. "We're in an uphill battle but that's not to say that it can't be done."

The Vote Me Too PAC has not yet released any fundraising figures. Sherman's goal is to support a slate of three to 10 female candidates for the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.

Afterwards, she hopes to expand the PAC's effort to supporting female candidates at the state and local levels.

"The actual lesson is that this is a marathon and I am a marathoner so that helps me," she said. "And I'm not going away."

Sherman added, "I sometimes think about how many more women there are out there like me, who are sitting at their desks doing something really powerful."