A few days ago, I posted a tweet on Twitter that went viral with the hashtag #TooManyWomen.
I wrote the tweet in light of the tragic news of Sarah Everard who went missing in London on March 3rd and whose body was found in woodland in Kent. For more information, please read this BBC news article.
Sarah’s tragic story has highlighted how vulnerable we as women are even with the extra precautions we’ve been taught to take such as covering up, walking on well lit roads and keeping our phones on us which are just a few among many more.
What really drives it home for me in particular is that Sarah was walking back to her home in Brixton through Clapham. My youngest sister and one of my closest friends both live in the Brixton area and this could easily have been them. It could have been any of us.
After seeing the statistic that 97% of women have experienced sexual assault, I wanted to share one of my experiences from my youth that really stood out in my mind.
There are many trolls who have replied to my tweet, trying to diminish my experience by telling me that people couldn’t have possibly seen him grab my breast, that ‘this is just what happens in night clubs’ or that I’m just lying altogether. I don’t owe any of them any explanation but I will say that people definitely did see it happen, and I was not dancing with him nor even close to him to justify ‘leading him on’.
The #TooManyWomen hashtag is not being used to diminish the experiences of men. The aim is to highlight that these experiences are happening to a lot of women (97% of them to reiterate the statistic). When I have spoken to any of my friends about this, not a single woman hasn’t had a story to share.
Never did I expect in my wildest dreams that this tweet would go viral, but more importantly, empower others to share their experiences also. The number of women who have spoken out and shared their stories proves how normalised this behaviour is across the world.
If you are one of the many women who has experienced sexual assault, we stand by you and we support you.
It’s more important, now than ever, to read these stories, support us and pave the way for change. Education is absolutely essential and victim blaming needs to stop. I hope that with the continued sharing of these stories that people’s eyes will open and we will start to see change happen.