Sexual assault and the Trump video: 1 million women say it’s #notokay
Warning: This story contains graphic language.
“Breasts grabbed at Halloween party when I was 14. Ass grabbed when I was wedding dress shopping at 27.”
“I fell asleep on a flight to Chicago & woke up w businessman next to me groping my breast. I was 21.”
“Dentist, holding needle after novacaine shot, leaned in, kissed my cheek. Staff defended him. Said I was a pretty girl.”
“Old man stuck his hand up my shorts in a Disney World shop. I was 16. #notokay”
In the tape, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made profoundly offensive and misogynistic comments about women. Trump’s comments exemplify rape culture, the act of normalizing and overlooking violence against women.
“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump said. His words show a dismissal of a woman’s right to consent.
The remarks aren’t exactly of out character for Trump.
But as the public processed the revelations about Trump, Kelly Oxford, a New York Times best-selling author, started getting women to talk about their stories of sexual assault.
On Friday, Oxford tweeted five of her own experiences and at what age they occurred.
The first time, she tweeted, an old man grabbed her “p****” (using the same vulgar term Trump used). He smiled at her. She was 12 years old.
Oxford’s call-to-action prompted an outpouring of tweets from mostly women but some men too.
Using the hashtag #notokay, the personal accounts drill home how commonplace sexual assault is and why Trump’s comments can’t be dismissed as “locker room banter” — an actual explanation Trump gave for the video.
The viral exchange, which lasted hours, was a dramatic illustration of how Twitter can rally people around an important issue, even elevate a cause. Some women said that tweeting their stories was the first time they’d publicly acknowledged what happened to them.
Others said that they too had stories to share but didn’t want to do so publicly.
And some said that they simply had too many sexual assault stories to list.
Finally, Oxford tweeted: “women have tweeted me sexual assault stories for 14 hours straight. Minimum 50 per minute. harrowing. do not ignore. #notokay”
According to RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization, a person experiences sexual assault every 109 seconds. Every eight minutes, the victim is a child. And it’s extremely rare for perpetrators of that violence to be caught or reprimanded.
“I’ve had a million women describe their assaults tonight. A million. This is not nothing,” Oxford said in a tweet.
Need someone to talk to? RAINN has a confidential hotline you can call at (800) 656-HOPE.