On Friday night, after a tape was released in which Donald Trump refers to grabbing women “by the pussy,” Canadian writer Kelly Oxford started a Twitter thread encouraging women to share their sexual assualt stories. “I’ll go first,” she wrote, “Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.”
Oxford wants women to share their personal accounts in order to demonstrate how sexual harassment is much more than a collection of statistics. She wants to put faces to the numbers that we hear every day. Thousands of women replied (and are still replying) to Oxford’s tweet, some using the hashtag #NotOkay, with their own stories of the first time they remember being sexually assualted. Some women were as young as four years old at the time of their first assault. Many of the assailants were older men, like soccer coaches and teachers, and in some cases they were family members or family friends.
Women: tweet me your first assaults. they aren’t just stats. I’ll go first:Old man on city bus grabs my “pussy” and smiles at me, I’m 12.— kelly oxford (@kellyoxford) October 7, 2016
@kellyoxford Family friend laid on top of me on the couch and wouldn’t let me up. I was about 11.— Jenelle Riley (@jenelleriley) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford 8 yrs old, my cousin cornered me in a bedroom & “grabbed my pussy.” I kicked him & tried to tell my aunt, she called me a liar.— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) October 8, 2016
.@kellyoxford I was 11. An older boy walked me home, turned around w/ his dick out. I just realized: I have no memory of what happened next.— Emily Lindin (@EmilyLindin) October 8, 2016
@kellyoxford 15, at a hs theater competition dance. a guy i’d never met shoved his hand down my dress so hard my strapless bra fell down.— Claire Fallon (@ClaireEFallon) October 8, 2016
Initially, Oxord said that if no one responded, she’d take the post down. At this point, her tweet has reached nearly 10 million people, proving how important it is that we talk about sexual assault. Trump’s comments are so, so much more than “locker room banter.” Women’s safety and well-being is much more than a statistic. Most importantly this thread reminds millions of women that they are not alone, and shows millions of men how far we have yet to go.