Hours after the Trump tape hit the airwaves and a national nerve, author Kelly Oxford launched a Twitter feed asking “’Women Tweet me your first assaults. They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my p***y and smiles at me. I’m 12.’”
“Part of me was scared there would be no response at all. I was sharing a personal experience, you put yourself in a vulnerable position,” Oxford said.
The, offering an immediate window into the scope of sexual assault in this country today.
“When you read it’s not just one person saying that horrible story its hundreds saying that same horrible story and telling it for the first time, it’s really unbelievable,” she said.
Millions of women have shared their experiences, creating the hashtag #notokay.
While these stories are being shared across social media, the theme and its reality are nothing new.
Twenty-five years ago Tuesday, 35-year-old law professor Anita Hill sat before an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee recounting how Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas allegedly harassed her.
“He talked about pornographic materials,” Hill testified. “On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess.”
Thomas was eventually confirmed to the court, while Hill landed a lifetime of defending her story and being re-victimized through smear campaigns.
“For 25 years we have been saying that sexual harassment is something that affects so many women,” said Hill, now 60.
“The focus of the conversation should be the harm that harassment causes the victims and how we’re going to prevent it,” she said.
Those hearings, like the Trump tape, triggered a national conversation on assault. But Hill fears when the news cycle ends, the talk of how to make change will stop too.
“Even after 25 years, this is a powerful moment. What we do next is important so this doesn’t happen again to the next generation,” Hill said.