A simple, but vulnerable, question tweeted by popular Social Media Personality/Cookie Goddess maven Christine (@SteenFox), has solicited a ton of surprising answers. Over 800 responses and counting poured onto her Twitter feed after she asked what women were wearing when they were raped or sexually assaulted. In an exclusive interview with us, Christine gives us insight on what triggered this entire conversation and more.
It all started when a flyer for the “SlutWalk” floating across the TL. SlutWalk is an organized transnational movement that started in April, 2011 after a Toronto police officer suggested that women stop dressing like sluts if they want to remain safe. It occurs every April in the form of marches where women wear revealing clothing to bring awareness that even if a woman is dressed like a “slut”, no one has the right to assault them. There seems to be a misconception that clothing contributes to the likelihood that a woman will be assaulted & it’s mindblowing how many people actually agree with this.
Anyway, the flyer triggered a conversation on the TL about the name of the protest march, many people taking issue w/the name. People have a problem with the name “SlutWalk” but don’t have a problem referring to women who dress a certain way as sluts. Then a man on Twitter tweeted that although he felt women don’t deserve to be assaulted, they should be mindful of how they dress. He suggested that men & women need to “do better.” That implies that victims need to do something to avoid being victimized. So I thought about when I was assaulted and wondered “how could I have done better?” I couldn’t have done anything different to prevent that incident from happening. It wasn’t my fault. He wasn’t a stranger. I wasn’t dressed like a “slut.”
I was wearing a red Bebe tanktop & black jeans and black slip on wedges.
It was a guy that I’d known for a couple of years. I was at his home alone. He put something in the drink that he insisted that I have.
Very. It has been going on for almost 8 hours so I just had to log off. It was overwhelming.
Everyone remembered exactly what they had on. The most common response seemed to pajamas. Many were children. Most of the attackers were people they knew…grandfathers, fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers, boyfriends, pastors, husbands. There were women in their military uniforms, women wearing leggings & boots. Sundresses while on vacation. School uniforms. Work clothes. Dresses that they wore to church. Just normal, everyday clothing.
Yes, I had a couple of brave men share their stories.
That bravery is inspiring. I had to walk away from my computer a few times because I was in tears. And these stories weren’t just from strangers. They were from people who I’ve known & followed for years that I never knew I shared this in common with. I respect them even more after today. Most importantly, I learned that this has happened to WAY too many women & girls and it has to stop. We don’t need to teach girls how to protect themselves. We need to teach boys not to rape. How can you protect yourself when you’re 5 years old and asleep in your bed where you’re supposed to be safe? You can’t.
It opened up a powerful discussion between my boyfriend & I and gave me the courage to speak publicly about something that I’ve been ashamed about for years. I’ve thought about blogging about my experience for years but I didn’t because I was afraid that I’d be judged or open myself up for ridicule or disgusting comments from insensitive idiots (this happened to some of the women tonight & I feel terrible about it.)
I’m just really grateful that this happened, that so many people shared their stories. It’s like, once they saw others sharing they came forward and it was amazing. Women & men who have never told anyone before opened up and it was powerful. I’m so glad that I decided to use my Twitter for something useful for a change. :) it may be inconsequential but when I asked the question, I refreshed a few times & had no responses. I thought “that was a fail.” LOL. So I decided to go first. I figured…how can I ask people to answer a question that I’m scared to answer myself? So I did. And waited. It was scary seeing my own answer on the screen but also empowering. Got a couple of answers & RT’ed them. I was going to RT those few to prove my point that women wearing everyday regular clothing are assaulted. Next thing I knew, I had 144 new tweets. Soon the tweets went from simple “khaki shorts & shirt” to “I was 7. I was wearing my footie pajamas. He said he’d hurt my mom if I told.” At one point I had 892 new interactions.