I don't recommend watching the USC Santa Barbara killer's videos. But I do encourage browsing through the tales being told on Twitter. And I do recommend you read things like this New Yorker article or this piece from Slate.
Personally, this campaign really got me thinking about my own life journey and experiences with misogyny. I made a few of my own mistakes in my 32 years. And of course, I have my own regrets. But these are just a few of the times that I remember being scared, frightened, or pressured simply because I was a woman.
- In 9th grade I started the school year as a naive 13 year-old. And ever day, for the entire first semester, a biology partner threatened to crawl into my bedroom window and rape me.
- I cross a very busy road between a coffee shop and my library, nearly every day. And at least once a week (often more), men honk their horn and hoot out the window to get my attention.
- The time I was in college and was coaxed into coming back to that guy's room.
- Though I never really knew for sure, I'm nearly certain that roofies were put into my (and probably other's drinks) at a sorority and fraternity mixer. It's the only time in my life where I blacked out to the point where I don't remember parts of the night. Thank goodness for friends who always made sure we all got home safe.
- All of the times I've had to tell strangers that I had a boyfriend (even when I didn't) because they won't take hints that I'm not interested.
- Those times where I got asked out at the front desk of the library, while I was on duty, in front of not only staff members, but the general public.
- One morning, not more than a month ago, walking down a very busy street in Pittsburgh. Wearing a dress, like I do every single day. And have a man tell me to "Shake that Booty" from the loudspeaker, attached to his truck.
- The fact that so many people find this blog by adding "slut" to my profession.
Though there are more of these stories from own my life, I'm thankful that my stories don't end in violence or sexual assault. I am one of the lucky ones.
I am smart enough to know that a hash tag won't change the world. These issues run deeper than anything 140 characters can convey or fix. But I do think that social media can start a conversation. Or many conversations. To let women know they aren't alone, to let parents open up about talking to their children, to let men understand where women are coming from just a little more, to help understand what it may mean to walk in someone else's shoes. I don't think anything will change over night. But maybe we're all growing up to be adults who can help future generations choose their words and actions just a little more wiser than we choose our own.