A single tweet in response to Donald Trump’s “sickening” remarks about women has sparked an extraordinary response by women sharing their sexual assault and rape stories online.
Following the release of an off-camera recording of Mr Trump speaking in vulgar terms about trying to have sex with women, US author Kelly Oxford asked women to Tweet their “first assaults”.
“Women: tweet me your first assaults. they aren’t just stats,” she posted.
women have tweeted me sexual assault stories for 14 hours straight. Minimum 50 per minute. harrowing. do not ignore. #notokay
— kelly oxford (@kellyoxford) October 8, 2016
Ms Oxford said she received 1,000 replies in the first hour, and later said 1 million women had described their assaults to her.
Warning: the following contains descriptions of sexual assault that some readers might find disturbing.
Women recounted memories of being abused, groped, fondled and violently attacked by relatives, teachers, friends, boyfriends and strangers.
For many, there was not just one account to share, but numerous examples of sexual assault spanning their lifetimes.
Some said their memories were triggered by hearing Mr Trump’s comments.
The video in question, released by The Washington Post, was recorded while Mr Trump was speaking with TV host Billy Bush during the taping of US entertainment show Access Hollywood in 2005.
I am currently receiving 2 sex assault stories per second. Anyone denying rape culture, please look at my timeline now. #notokay
— kelly oxford (@kellyoxford) October 7, 2016
Mr Trump’s remarks have raised these questions: were they just “locker room banter” — as the Republican candidate put it — or an insight into rape culture in the US?
The response from US politicians, the media and the people, in the wake of the news, indicated that Mr Trump’s remarks were not being received simply as “boys will be boys” commentary.
Responses by women and men to Ms Oxford’s tweet reinforce the severity of Mr Trump’s remarks, and highlight the frequency of sexual assaults.
Ms Oxford, and many others, said Mr Trump’s comments depicted rape culture — a comment that immediately drew backlash.
Several high-profile Republicans slammed Mr Trump for his initial remarks, with Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, saying he was “sickened”.
Jeb Bush, a one-time presidential hopeful who is also former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush’s cousin, said Mr Trump’s comments were “reprehensible”.