Follow anyone on twitter or been on it in the last 24 hours?
I’d take a good guess that you might have spotted this hashtag crop up on your feed.
It’s being spread across social media to show the magnitude of sexual assault and how prevalent it is across the globe.
And to be honest, it makes me fucking sick.
It disgusts me at how many people I know, and chat with who have added their voice to this. How many of us have suffered, been frightened and been shamed by the people who harassed or assaulted us for their own gain.
Celebrities have added their voices, people I know have told their stories and I myself have been unfortunate enough to be able to add my own hashtag.
The thing is, even though I experienced assault as a teenager (something I would never write about in detail), I personally have experienced plenty of harassment since then.
It might not be grabbing me and ripping up my shirt when I didn’t want it to happen, it might not be trying to kiss me in a club or groping my ass when I’ve pushed you away- it’s also in the little things.
The kiss on the cheek from a stranger, the persistent asking for my number, the offers to buy drinks and then hurling abuse at me and my friends if we turn them down.
There are so many everyday occurrences of this. The big and the small. And they all scream one thing to me:
It’s not enough to talk about it anymore, we need to change something.
There’s so much bravery in coming forward once something like this has happened, but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
I want us all to do better as a society.
I want children to be taught the right way to treat others, I want young men to understand respect, I want people around the world to realize the suffering that happens to other women… and I want people with influence to start talking.
I might be a tiny little speck on the big wide web, but I’m starting now.
It’s time to change our perceptions. It’s time to change how we talk about, communicate and move forward. The hashtag is a stark and frightening reminder but it’s not enough to just tweet, we need to change.
I am a victim of that person, but I will no longer be victimized by what he did.
Instead, I’m a voice to speak out against it and to try and stop it from happening to others.
If you’ve been personally affected by sexual assault then please don’t be ashamed or afraid to speak up.
And if you’d like to speak to me personally then feel free to drop me a DM.