When a damning report revealed that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is facing scores of sexual assault allegations from the past thirty years, the seemingly untouchable bigwigs in the Hollywood filming industry have been given a stark reality check.
But as these doleful statistics from Rape Crisis reveal, when 1 in 5 women aged 16 - 59 have experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16, sexual assault is not the rarity that so many people believe it to be.
And to prove the alarming frequency and prevalence of sexual assault in women's’ lives, Twitter user and writer @annetdonahue asked the online community when they first ‘met their Weinstein’.
When did you meet YOUR Harvey Weinstein? I'll go first: I was a 17-yr-old co-op student and he insisted on massaging my shoulders as I typed— Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) October 5, 2017
He was my boss at a radio station and liked to me things like why "girls my age" liked giving blow jobs and not having sex. A GREAT TIME.— Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) October 5, 2017
And the thread is a difficult but powerful read.
Me: 21-year-old student, met him (60s) & wife at Bible studies class; invited me to dinner & discovered wife wasn't there when I arrived.— Amanda Leduc (@AmandaLeduc) October 5, 2017
Then sat me down & asked me if I masturbated. Then said, "If you & I were on a desert island, how long before we'd be having sex?"— Amanda Leduc (@AmandaLeduc) October 5, 2017
Oh boy, in the tech world, I'd say about 1 in every 3 dudes I interacted with was some version of Harvey Weinstein.— Alex (@karmagypsy) October 5, 2017
Most recent was married British political journo who wanted to discuss writing, then pivoted to suggest we have an affair. When I said no— Erin Donnelly (@erindonnelly) October 5, 2017
he shot back, "I'm not lonely, I have 29K Twitter followers." Later learned this is his MO with female writers.— Erin Donnelly (@erindonnelly) October 5, 2017
And as the stream of tweets prove, not only is sexual assault alarmingly common, but it comes in a variety of depressing forms.
The perpetrators can be people in positions of authority, relatives, strangers, or even customers.
i've had way more than one customer at the genius bar intentionally show me nude photos on their computer/iphone when they hand it to me to fix— wake me for opening day (@stopthistrain28) October 5, 2017
At a comic/game store I was 1of 2 women retail workers out of about 100. When the owner came male coworkers sent me to back room because...— Kt Schaefer🐈 (@kt_schaefer) October 5, 2017
they knew that if he saw me I would be pawed at or hit on or invited to the bathroom for some 'fun'.— Kt Schaefer🐈 (@kt_schaefer) October 5, 2017
And while the insidious poison of sexual violence continues to permeate the lives of women, these tweets serve as a harrowing yet poignant reminder that we need to tackle the secrecy and protections around those that assault.
Although we have a long way to go when it comes to tackling the corrosive impact of sexual violence, it is invaluable to know that there are women out there ready to share their stories.