Although rape and consent are increasingly discussed subjects, the potentially life-ruining effects of sexual violation are not always easy to be open about.
As eight women came forward to accuse former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi of sexual violence and abuse, Toronto Star journalist Antonia Zerbisias sent out a tweet in support of all those who've been raped.
The women reported the incidents to the media, not to the police.
Zerbisias referenced actress Lucy DeCoutere, the first woman to accuse Ghomeshi, and created the hashtags #BeenRapedNeverReported and #IBelieveLucy.
The journalist unwittingly opened the door to a sea of pain and buried emotion from women across Twitter.
As the tag trended last night and continues to spread, women share their stories of violation and humiliation. It's a powerful reflection on a culture that still does not always protect or accept women who've been attacked.
The hashtag began with Toronto Star reporter Antonia Zerbisias.
#ibelievelucy#ibelievewomen And yes, I've been raped (more than once) and never reported it. #BeenRapedNeverReported — Antonia Zerbisias (@AntoniaZ) October 30, 2014
Soon, hundreds of women were using Twitter to tell their most secret, painful stories.
Because when I told my friends, they didn't believe me. #beenrapedneverreported — Norma M. (@NormaGoodness) October 31, 2014
Yep, at BYU #BeenRapedNeverReported — Gretchen Wiltbank (@zammsmom) October 31, 2014
I've suffered a great deal but learned to stay positive about life. God is still by my side. #BeenRapedNeverReported — Ms J (@Janell_Mo) October 31, 2014
Locked in a bedroom n raped while mostly unconscious by two "friends", deemed a slut/home-wrecker #BeenRapedNeverReported#ibelievelucy — ✨ Jamie L. (@jamieleclerc) October 31, 2014
I was nine. He was my stepdad. He "loved me" like that till I got away at 15. #BeenRapedNeverReported — Molly Frances (@mollywollydoodl) October 31, 2014
#beenrapedneverreported because I was so traumatized that I would cry and hide under the bed or desk whenever the phone would ring. — autumn archer (@sepiastars) October 31, 2014
As for reason: #beenrapedneverreported bc I thought rape happened w/ a stranger down a dark alley, not w/ your boyfriend in your bedroom — Eileen Holmes (@eileenamholmes) October 31, 2014
After being shamed and assaulted by my doctor, I was afraid to tell anyone else. I fought hard enough to survive. #BeenRapedNeverReported — suzanne qillies (@holymatriarchy) October 31, 2014
#beenrapedneverreported - One friend said, "I prefer to focus on his better qualities." Others said, "He's such a nice guy!" As I cried. — Kathryn NicDhàna (@nicdhana) October 31, 2014
#beenrapedneverreported I was in shock. Woke up in a parking garage being raped 11 hrs after my last conscious thought. My life changed 4vr — Face 2 Face (@FacetoFaceLA) October 31, 2014
It's been 10 years and I still can't sleep in the dark. #BeenRapedNeverReported — Jassi Okami (@BioJassi) October 31, 2014
Because I was a 16 yr old virgin. Because I was in a foreign country. Because I was ashamed. Because I was scared #beenrapedneverreported — Kristy Biddle (@BiddleKristy) October 31, 2014
We were drunk, even though I said no many times I made the excuse that he was drunk #BeenRapedNeverReported — M (@MDoubleM89) October 31, 2014
Because nobody believes a 19 yr old convert with a mental illness over a 29 yr old returned missionary. #beenrapedneverreported — Marla Rhodes-Perrin (@mdperrinco) October 31, 2014
#BeenRapedNeverReported because no one believes that a girl that's slept w 40+ ppl could ever say no. — Alexandria (@allief0ley) October 31, 2014
#BeenRapedNeverReported I said no, started crying. Couldn't even fight, I just cried. Then I showered again and again for days. — Waned Malave (@SuperWaned) October 31, 2014
#BeenRapedNeverReported bc no one would believe the fat chick — Nerdee (@NerdeeNoPinata) October 31, 2014
#BeenRapedNeverReported because sex workers are never protected — 蓮 (@afrofilipino) October 31, 2014
I allowed myself to be the villain in our breakup to hide the rape from our friends/family. #beenrapedneverreported — Joon (@Joonuper) October 31, 2014
H/T: Huffington Post