Yesterday hundreds of women took to Twitter to share experiences of sexual assault and harassment from their childhoods, using the hashtag #WhenIWas.
The hashtag was started by the site EverydaySexism because of the number of stories they receive from women. The resulting tweets painted a disturbing picture of just how pervasive rape culture is, with some women recounting incidents from when they were as young as 8 years old.
Women shared varying experiences of being assaulted, harassed, catcalled and discriminated against. However, they all served to highlight the culture of shame and silence that women face when these incidents happen.
In an interview with Mic, EverydaySexism founder Laura Bates said, ‘It helps us to see the connections between the things we’re told not to make a fuss about and the more serious abuse.’
The hashtag also served to create a space for women to share their experiences and be supported by each other.
Read some of the experiences shared below: [TW: Sexual assault]
#WhenIWas 17 I was told in court that theres no way I was raped as I wasnt deemed attractive by my rapist. Tell me we don’t need feminism.
— am (@_xalana) April 19, 2016
#WhenIWas 16 on a school trip I was drugged by a man at a hostel. He attempted to rape me. Police said I was old enough to know better.
— Lydia Hulme (@EllesieBean) April 19, 2016
#WhenIWas 7, I was sexually assaulted by an older boy and my school tried to suspend me for taking it to court
— cail (@caileyisdead) April 19, 2016
#WhenIWas 13, yoga pants were banned from my middle school because they were deemed “too distracting to my male peers/instructors”
— ♍️ (@blacktarheroine) April 19, 2016
#wheniwas about 9, an older man (50+) at a family gathering told me to greet my elder with a kiss, he then forced his tongue into my mouth.
— Gadi (@AfroMatriarch) April 19, 2016
— Luna (@mentalexotica) April 19, 2016