TW: Descriptions of sexual assault and intimate partner violence
Women are sharing their stories of being unfairly blamed, in particular when it comes to experiencing sexual harrassment and assault.
The viral Twitter thread started by Dr Jessica Taylor, founder of Victim Focus, which looks at how women are consistently blamed and shamed for the actions of men.
She tweeted this morning encouraging women to share their stories, and "show love to others who have been blamed".
She began by sharing her own experience, saying she was blamed by "absolutely everyone [she] knew":
I don’t know how I didn’t go completely bonkers. I was just a child. Everyone gave me a reason why I was to blame: not leaving, not escaping, getting pregnant, not reporting soon enough, ringing police too much, lying about it etc.
I was blamed by police for ‘wasting police time’ when I woke up in the middle of the night to 47 death threats, each detailing a different way he wanted to kill me and what he would do with my body Police said I was a ‘tattle tale’.
I was blamed a few years ago (2017) for being sexually assaulted by a stranger who I managed to fight off eventually and I was left with injuries. I ran for help and the man said to me ‘you must have provoked him’ and another said to me ‘it’s his birthday, he was just having fun’.
I was blamed for ‘potentially ruining a man's life’ when I finally had the courage to report 5 years of rape, exploitation, drugs, beatings, harassment, abuse and grooming to police.
Her point struck a cord with many women, who used the hashtag to add their experiences.
Many shared their stories of being blamed fro the abusive and violent actions of their partners.
Others shared stories of one-off encounters.
And cases of sexual harassment in the workplace.
In day-to-day life women are also blamed for things which should not logically be their responsibility.
As well as cases where their physical suffering was dismissed.
And of course there are all the ways women blame themselves thanks to internalising the messages of a patriarchal society.
Men saw the thread and were shocked by what they read...
Most women will not be shocked. This is. but a snapshot of all the ways women are degraded and their agency is dismissed by our society as a whole.