Courtesy of the Washington Post:I am currently receiving 2 sex assault stories per second. Anyone denying rape culture, please look at my timeline now. #notokay— kelly oxford (@kellyoxford) October 7, 2016
One by one, they poured out Friday, thousands of stories of sexual abuse posted to social media — a conversation that was ignited after news broke of a leaked video showing Donald Trump bragging about having his way with women.
Starting Friday afternoon, thousands of people shared personal stories on social media of being sexually assaulted, many using the hashtag #NotOkay. For many hours, #NotOkay was a trending topic on Twitter in the United States. A day later, the hashtag continued going strong.
The outpouring seems to have started after several prominent Twitter users posted about the potential consequences of brushing off Trump's comments. Doing so, they said, would normalize and enable "rape culture." And, they argued, this kind of behavior was more commonplace than some might think.
"If you don't think this will affect female [voter] turn out and crossover, perhaps you should ask a woman to recount all the times she was groped," tweeted Clara Jeffrey, editor-in-chief of Mother Jones.
One such woman is actress Amber Tamblyn, who is married to actor David Cross and had a very powerful response to Trump's language in that tape, for reasons that will become abundantly clear when you read her statement:
I need to tell you a story. With the love and support of my husband, I’ve decided to share it publicly.
A very long time ago I ended a long emotionally and physically abusive relationship with a man I had been with for some time. One night I was at a show with a couple girlfriends in Hollywood, listening to a DJ we all loved. I knew there was a chance my ex could show up, but I felt protected with my girls around me. Without going into all the of the details, I will tell you that my ex did show up, and came up to me in the crowd. He’s a big guy, taller than me. The minute he saw me, he picked me up with one hand by my hair and with his other hand, he grabbed me under my skirt by my vagina— my pussy?— and lifted me up off the floor, literally, and carried me, like something he owned, like a piece of trash, out of the club. His fingers were practically inside of me, his other hand wrapped tightly around my hair. I screamed and kicked and cried. He carried me this way, suspended by his hands, all the way across the room, pushing past people until he got to the front door. My friends ran after him, trying to stop him. We got to the front door and I thank God his brothers were also there and intervened. In the scuffle he grabbed at my clothes, trying to hold onto me, screaming at me, and inadvertently ripped off my grandmother’s necklace, which I was wearing. The rest of this night is a blur I do not remember. How I got out to the car. How I got away from him that night. I never returned for my necklace either.
That part of my body, which the current Presidential Nominee of the United States Donald Trump recently described as something he’d like to grab a woman by, was bruised from my ex-boyfriend’s violence for at least the next week. I had a hard time wearing jeans. I couldn’t sleep without a pillow between my legs to create space.
To this day I remember that moment. I remember the shame. I am afraid my mom will read this post. I’m even more afraid that my father could ever know this story. That it would break his heart. I couldn’t take that. But you understand, don’t you? I needed to tell a story.
Sometimes even the darkest clouds have a silver lining, and if the only thing positive that comes out of these disgusting stories we are hearing about Donald Trump is that women start sharing stories of their own abuse, and find that not only are they not alone but that there are thousands of them, perhaps that will help demystify the problem and give these women a feeling of support.
It might also help to strengthen law protecting employees in the workplace against this kind of situation, because it does not matter if you are powerful, or a star, you cannot "get away with anything."