Last night on Twitter, Lady Gaga started up a hashtag, #ImASurvivor, in order to reach out to victims of sexual assault. The hashtag really grew from there, as hundreds of sexual assault survivors and allies tweeted out their stories and sentiments. This came at a perfect time too, since Donald Trump’s statements condoning sexual assault, and so many people standing behind him despite the horrible things he said has caused PTSD for a lot of sexual abuse victims.
In America, someone is sexually assaulted every 109 seconds. One out of every six women will be raped in their lifetime, and approximately 99% of the time, the culprit of the crime will walk free. Sexual assault is consistently unreported, by individuals and colleges. And even reported crimes have a rare chance of leading to prosecution. The entire justice system in America needs reform urgently, in many areas, especially the handling of sexual crimes.
“@martinmakenna27: I am worthy, my feelings are valid, and I don’t need to blame myself. This doesn’t define me. I will find love and respect. #ImASurvivor”
With the recent influx of women speaking out out their experiences of sexual assault from a certain Republican presidential candidate, Gaga’s hashtag was an important reminder that there IS life after sexual abuse. You are NOT alone. And with the new allegations against Mr. Trump comes an increase in victim blaming and invalidation, but it’s imperative that we all band together to protect victims of sexual abuse, no matter what.
“@jienamarcella: #ImASurvivor NOT a victim. Encouraging to see so many people speak up about something that was once such a dark place in their lives. You all matter. ?”
It doesn’t matter your gender, age, or sexual orientation, your experience of sexual abuse is valid and you have the right to speak up about it. You are not alone. You are a survivor.
Thanks to @jienamarcella and @martinmakenna27 on Twitter for allowing me to use their tweets in this article.