A heartbreaking, amazing thing is happening on Twitter right now. Twitter user @steenfox wanted to point out that sexual assault has nothing to do with what a victim is wearing, and so she asked women and men on Twitter to tell her what they were wearing when they were raped, molested or sexually assaulted.
A staggering amount of replies have come pouring in and @steenfox (whose current Twitter name is "Adele Dazim," which makes the whole thing a bit surreal) has been retweeting (and sharing anonymously from Direct Messages she has received) survivors' stories for several hours.
The replies are predictably heartbreaking.
Some survivors' replies belie the age at which they were assaulted- so many pajamas, school uniforms and jellies sandals are popping up on Steenfox's timeline that my stomach started to churn. Others describe in detail the perfect date outfit- cute dress, sensible cardigan, impractical shoes. More than one military uniform has been mentioned. Office attire, sweatpants, nothing at all.
Steenfox has of course already attracted some trolls, from the outright disgusting to the typically clueless. "Most women are raped by strangers," one man stridently claims. But it's easy to tell from even a cursory glance at Steenfox's timeline that this man is wrong. Over and over, there are accounts of people being assaulted by the very people who should have been protecting them, by the people who swore to love them, by the people who had employed them.
The courageous men and women who are sharing their stories will break your heart and make you cry. But they are stories that must be told, and @steenfox is doing Twitter a service by telling them. You can read their stories at www.twitter.com/@steenfox. I encourage you to spend a moment, if you are able, on these survivors and their stories. And then go kick the ass of the next person who dares to say, "look at how she was dressed."
(my apologies for not being able to link to the tweets in this post- I am writing from my iPad, which renders me as technology impaired as a cantankerous old grandpa.)
ETA: Everyone is being so brave that I feel like I have to be as well. The first time: pink shorts, a Michael Jackson "BAD" tshirt and keds that were permanently untied. Years later he saw me dressed up to go to an 8th grade school dance and said that my tits made me look like a whore. He was married to my aunt, and I've never told anyone in my family.