After a federal inquiry into sexual violence in U.K. schools was announced this week, Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates created a hashtag, #WhenIWas, to encourage women to share their stories of early sexism. Women responded in droves, and #WhenIWas is now a virtual battleground filled with women’s stories of sexual harassment and abuse.
Sadly, as Twitter users pointed out, women experience this kind of harassment from such a young age that many stop recognizing it as inappropriate or illegal. Indeed, research show that 85 percent of U.S. women have been sexually harassed in some way by age 17 and, as UltraViolet pointed out, most survivors will never see justice. That’s why campaigns like this one are so important—by talking about widespread sexual harassment and abuse, we ensure that survivors aren’t silenced and traumas aren’t ignored.
If anyone ever asks why the world still needs feminism, just show them this list.
Front page photo courtesy of Flickr user 55Laney69 licensed under Creative Commons 2.0