Women are opening up on social media about their experiences with sexual assault

TikTok has become a popular space for women to share their experiences

Maggie Blackburn, Assistant Editor, Arts & Culture

In March,  UNWomen, an organization that advocates for gender equality in the UK, reported that 97% percent of women between the ages of 18 and 24 have experienced some form of sexual harassment. After the statistic came out, many women felt like they were finally able to speak out on their experiences.

There have been numerous trends across the social media platform, TikTok, where women were able to speak up. Right after the statistic came out, women made videos with red paint on their hands, and put handprints where a man touched them without their consent. Many women expressed the notion that they stayed quiet for a long time, but are now ready to speak out.

These movements and trends are crucial to make women feel more comfortable speaking out on their experiences. The reason a lot of women stay quiet; largely because of the responses they are scared of. Common responses include dehumanizing and accusatory statements such as, “Well, what were you wearing?” or “Were you sober?” and “Why would you put yourself in that situation?” All of these questions make it the fault of the woman, and never question the man. When many women try to press charges, others also respond with things like, “You could ruin his future.”

On TikTok, I have seen ignorant comments like “All of the sudden all girls have been assaulted by a man,” as if women are only recently suffering from assault and harassment. And that is exactly the issue: the videos you are seeing on your “For You Page” are only the women who were able to share their story. For each woman who finally got up the courage to share her story, another two-three others continue to fear coming out about their experiences. 

Only 3% of women between the ages of 18 and 24 have not been sexually harassed by a man. It may not be all men, but it is way too close to being all women, and something needs to be done about it.