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MUST READ: “What were you wearing when you were assaulted?” – Sexual assault survivors respond

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MUST READ: “What were you wearing when you were assaulted?” – Sexual assault survivors respond

by Jessica Testa

Prompted by a discussion over how women “shouldn’t dress,” Twitter user @steenfox asked her followers a question:

Can I ask a question? If there are any women on my TL who are victims of sexual assault & don’t mind sharing something?

 

 

What were you wearing when you’re assaulted? Let me know if it’s ok to RT your response. Thank you in advance for sharing. <3

 

 

 

 

The response was overwhelming.

Note: All users featured here gave BuzzFeed permission to post their responses; some asked that their names, photos, or both be blurred.

 

 

 

 

@steenfox 19 yrs old, a blouse and fitted jeans. Told me it was the only way he would take me back home. OK to RT.

 

 

@steenfox 24. t-shirt & panties. at knifepoint in my own home. I said “no” & almost didn’t live to see today. (ok to RT)

 

 

@steenfox jeans, t-shirt. I was 15, it was my first “real” boyfriend. Tried to make myself think that it was ok for years. (OK to RT)

 

 

Ayanna Brooks, or @AmiWinehouse, told BuzzFeed she shared her story because she often sees victim blaming — and women being “so at odds with each other” — on Twitter.

“[Users] tend to shame women and call them names for experiencing things like I’ve experienced,” she said in an email. “I’ve stopped feeling like the villain and accepted that I was a victim but it doesn’t define me. Seeing everyone else share made me feel a sense of unity and togetherness.”

 

 

@steenfox I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, baggy jeans and a cap advertising the Beatles. You can RT

 

 

@steenfox black t, skinny jeans, leopard flats. I was 22 & in college. Told best guy friend some1 “hurt” me. Took me yrs to say rape (Ok2rt)

 

 

@steenfox i “got away” but tank long sleeved sweater jeans. He threw my purse outside and got his dog bc i screamed OK2RT

 

 

According to RAINN, 73% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim; this was reflected in the women’s stories.

@steenfox black dress and peep-toe flats . I was 18 . Person who lived across the hall from my dorm room gave me a ride home from a party .

 

 

@steenfox House clothes – prob. jeans/t-shirt. I was 7. My mom’s friend babysat me. It was her nephew and he was close to 20 years old. (RT)

 

 

 

 

@steenfox pajamas at a sleepover in a room full of girls and an irresponsible mother. I was 16. Ok to RT.

 

 

@steenfox White jeans, yellow shirt. Roller skates for the 1st part of the night – I was 15 & it was my first date.

 

 

 

 

@steenfox one-piece bathing suit. I was 17 & a lifeguard. He was a co-worker. It was my 1st job. Ok to RT. thank you for twitterconversation

 

 

@steenfox the 1st time- a black & white striped, one piece bathing suit with a ruffle around the middle. I was 6. OK to RT. <3

 

 

Nicole Aghaaliandastjerdi, or @justjerdi, said her assailant later became her stepfather. Today, she facilitates a women’s abuse support group — the importance of “putting faces to each assault” motivated her to tweet her story, she said in an email.

“I think it’s important to strip away the stigma that wearing ‘provocative attire’ is a woman’s way of ‘asking for it.’ As I read each of the tweets, I saw those girls wearing their pajamas getting ready to go to school the next day, the women just getting off work, the college freshman on her way to class — and I wept. It was powerful and moving, and I’m in awe at the strength we possess.”

 

 

Aghaaliandastjerdi wasn’t the only woman to use the phrase “the first time.” Many users described multiple outfits for multiple assaults.

@steenfox 1st time, nightgown. I was 5. 2nd&3rd time, jeans and a tee or tank top. 4th time, nothing. It was by my (then) gf, we were in bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

@steenfox first time 19- long jean skirt and a white blouse with flowers second time 28 sweats w/ a fever of a 102

 

 

 

 

Some women were dressed for school.

@steenfox my school clothes. a jacket, screen print shirt, jeans, and snow boots. Okay to RT

 

 

Some were ready for work.

@steenfox office work clothes. collard shirt, cardigan, pencil skirt with tights, flats. you can RT.

 

 

 

 

Others described assaults that began as consensual encounters.

@steenfox Handcuffs. Mine was when something consensual turned into something nonconsensual, and my “no” was ignored.

 

 

And so many were just children.

And so many were just children.

 

 

– This piece was culled from Buzzfeed

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