Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Speaking Out on Twitter About Sexual Assault

*Trigger Warning*

For those of you who have a Twitter account, you may already know that there’s a new tag getting a lot of attention right now: #ididnotreport is a tag where women can talk about sexual violence they’ve experienced, either telling about the situation specifically or just explaining why they never spoke out. I want to be completely clear: there is a major trigger warning for sexual violence, but if you can, I suggest taking a look.

In addition to tweets describing sexual assaults, there are also tweets signal boosting the tag and showing support to the women (and men!) who are using the tag as an outlet:

There are also plenty of responses like this one:

Aside from the actual tweets discussing violence, tweets like Bragg’s get to the heart of the issue – that sexual violence is one of the ways in which women are still oppressed every day. Tabby Kinder, a writer at the news site EastLondonLines, sums it up perfectly:

Like rape, street harassment restricts girls’ and women’s access to public places. Catcalls, sexist comments, public masturbation, groping and assault make public places unfriendly, frightening and dangerous for many girls, women, and LGBT people.
Street harassment and sexual assault are unacceptable, yet women suffer through it everyday, many just  tolerating it because they think that it's just a part of life they have no choice but to deal with. In fact, we don't have to just take it - whether it's reporting it or speaking out, there are ways to fight back. There are even websites where women snap pictures of men who harass them publicly and post them for others to see, essentially calling them out.

Seeing the outpouring of stories on the Twitter tag is absolutely heartbreaking, but it's great that so many women have the opportunity to use the tag as something of a safe space in which to share their experiences. There has even been an account created for women afraid to share on their personal account. The world needs to understand how huge this problem is, and how deeply it affects women, and social media has created an opportunity to spread the word.

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