By Bridget Robertson
May 24, 2014
It was a moment begun early yesterday in a tragedy. A man who felt entitled to women’s bodies killed and wounded several people in Santa Barbara. I mourn for his victims.
A hashtag and a conversation of women’s experiences flooded in 140 characters.
* “Just take it as a compliment.” That phrase haunts me. #YesAllWomen”
* “#YesAllWomen because “at least he didn’t actually rape you” is a sentence that exists. I will not be thankful that I was violated “less.”
* “Not leaving my house after dark anymore because getting home is a gauntlet of alleyways and I’m not sure I’ll make it. #YesAllWomen”
* “#YesAllWomen because my grandma shouldn’t have to be afraid for me every time I’m out late and alone.”
* “i hold my scars, i stand witness. #YesAllWomen”
* “But this is more than just a hashtag. It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed long after the hashtag dies. #YesAllWomen”
* “Because in spite of ALL THAT WE WOMEN KNOW, 1 in 6 American Women is nevertheless a victim of rape or attempted rape. #YesAllWomen” ( This statistic was the lowest the tweeter could find, CDC)
* “Because I’m actually anxious for who might tweet at me for using this hashtag. #YesAllWomen”
* “#YesAllWomen Because Women In Every where, in Every country, must watch their back simply because they are female”
* “#YesAllWomen is speaking up for EVERY woman who feels she must check herself just to get through each hour unhurt, unharrassed, unharmed.”
* “We hold our breath, race to the car, key in hand, check the backseat and only after we hear the door click of safety we Exhale #YesAllWomen”
* “#YesAllWomen bc we are exhausted from hyper-awareness.”
* “#YesAllWomen bc so many women reading #YesAllWomen are still too afraid to share their stories. Everyone of U Matters!”
* “because I had to learn how to take steps to avoid rape, murder, and kidnapping before I learned my times tables #YesAllWomen”
* “I’m feeling better than yesterday, #YesAllWomen has reminded me how many amazing, smart, brave women I follow on twitter, it helps”
* “Hashtags are often dumb/fun/punchlines but this matters because #YesAllWomen have used the lie “I have a boyfriend” when “no” didn’t work.”
* “When I told my dad about a man who was making me feel unsafe he said it was my responsibility to teach him my boundaries #YesAllWomen ”
* “#YesAllWomen are told that online harassment is our fault for “putting ourselves out there” and that we should have known better.”
* “#YesAllWomen trend reassures me that I’m not alone. I had no idea other women felt this way. I wish we didn’t have to.”
* “Taking the long way home because it’s after 10pm and the shorter way lacks proper lighting and public spaces to walk by. #YesAllWomen”
* “#yesallwomen because my body has birthed and fed two beautiful children, but I’m encouraged to erase all signs of that history.
* “#YesAllWomen because daughters are dead and we care more about a celebrity wedding.”
* “Because when he does stop help you change the tire, you wonder “Is this the night I get raped” until he leaves #goodsamaritan #YesAllWomen”
And in this holy sea of women taking up as much space as they could, many men tweeted a version of this:
* “The ONLY thing men need to do right now is LISTEN to women and do something about cultural femicide, misogyny, patriarchy #YesAllWomen”
I know some will say: “It’s just a hashtag. Tomorrow will bring another. This one will be forgotten. It’s social media. It doesn’t matter.”
Sure, there were haters, trolls and those who mocked. It will probably get worse today. But, something is happening. Something is happening more frequently. In bursts, women are no longer holding their silence. In one hashtag, common experiences and feelings were spoken and validated. And some of the haters just left. We kept saying it’s not about “you”! It’s about women and our common ties. Today I am more hopeful than yesterday. Because today, I watched from the wee hours of the morning to sunrise, women saying everything about patriarchy, misogyny, and rape culture that they could. For every woman who felt too afraid to tweet, others held vigil and continued on for them. We carried on for each other.
Laugh if you will. I do not care. Women from many spectrums of society just had an experience. I said a few weeks ago, #BringBackOurGirls, all of our girls, from everywhere, each and everyone! I just witnessed some come out of the shadows, speaking their truths bravely. I will be there each time. Join us. We will not be silenced!