Sexual Assault Survivors Answer The Question “What Were You Wearing When You Were Assaulted?”

On Wednesday night, @steenfox asked her thousands of Twitter followers to share their stories of rape and sexual assault. From “pink princess pajamas” to “office work clothes.”

1. Prompted by a discussion over how women “shouldn’t dress,” Twitter user @steenfox asked her followers a question:

2. The response was overwhelming.


Note: All users featured here gave BuzzFeed permission to post their responses; some asked that their names, photos, or both be blurred. For a thoughtful take on Twitter, sexual assault, and privacy, see this post from New York.

@steenfox jeans, t-shirt. I was 15, it was my first "real" boyfriend. Tried to make myself think that it was ok for years. (OK to RT)

— AmiWinehouse (@Ami Got Bandz)

Ayanna Brooks, or @AmiWinehouse, told BuzzFeed she shared her story because she often sees victim blaming — and women being “so at odds with each other” — on Twitter.

“[Users] tend to shame women and call them names for experiencing things like I’ve experienced,” she said in an email. “I’ve stopped feeling like the villain and accepted that I was a victim but it doesn’t define me. Seeing everyone else share made me feel a sense of unity and togetherness.”

@steenfox I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, baggy jeans and a cap advertising the Beatles. You can RT

— flippernaut (@flippernaut)

@steenfox black t, skinny jeans, leopard flats. I was 22 & in college. Told best guy friend some1 "hurt" me. Took me yrs to say rape (Ok2rt)

— dallasbthompson (@Dallas Thompson)

10. According to RAINN, 73% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim; this was reflected in the women’s stories.

@steenfox black dress and peep-toe flats . I was 18 . Person who lived across the hall from my dorm room gave me a ride home from a party .

— AdorableOneDHJL (@Kia)

@steenfox House clothes - prob. jeans/t-shirt. I was 7. My mom's friend babysat me. It was her nephew and he was close to 20 years old. (RT)

— rashidapowell (@Rashida.)

@steenfox pajamas at a sleepover in a room full of girls and an irresponsible mother. I was 16. Ok to RT.

— mwdominicana (@midwestdominicana)

@steenfox White jeans, yellow shirt. Roller skates for the 1st part of the night - I was 15 & it was my first date.

— lisalishtic (@LTaylor100)

@steenfox one-piece bathing suit. I was 17 & a lifeguard. He was a co-worker. It was my 1st job. Ok to RT. thank you for twitterconversation

— mikellkober (@Mikell Kober)

@steenfox the 1st time- a black & white striped, one piece bathing suit with a ruffle around the middle. I was 6. OK to RT. <3

— justjerdi (@Jerdi)

Nicole Aghaaliandastjerdi, or @justjerdi, said her assailant later became her stepfather. Today, she facilitates a women’s abuse support group — the importance of “putting faces to each assault” motivated her to tweet her story, she said in an email.

“I think it’s important to strip away the stigma that wearing ‘provocative attire’ is a woman’s way of ‘asking for it.’ As I read each of the tweets, I saw those girls wearing their pajamas getting ready to go to school the next day, the women just getting off work, the college freshman on her way to class — and I wept. It was powerful and moving, and I’m in awe at the strength we possess.”

17. Aghaaliandastjerdi wasn’t the only woman to use the phrase “the first time.” Many users described multiple outfits for multiple assaults.

@steenfox 1st time, nightgown. I was 5. 2nd&3rd time, jeans and a tee or tank top. 4th time, nothing. It was by my (then) gf, we were in bed

— Jah_vee_yuh (@Jhavia.)

@steenfox first time 19- long jean skirt and a white blouse with flowers second time 28 sweats w/ a fever of a 102

— CarrieBnice (@CutThroat)

20. Some women were dressed for school.

@steenfox my school clothes. a jacket, screen print shirt, jeans, and snow boots. Okay to RT

— NayQueenCole (@Queen)

21. Some were ready for work.

@steenfox office work clothes. collard shirt, cardigan, pencil skirt with tights, flats. you can RT.

— mooooody_ (@ana)

23. Others described assaults that began as consensual encounters.

@steenfox Handcuffs. Mine was when something consensual turned into something nonconsensual, and my "no" was ignored.

— SheIsTheWeather (@Dinosaur Laureate)

24. And so many were just children.

@steenfox I was 12, it was 4 guys. I had on an army green coat and acid washed skinny jeans w/zippers & bows at the ankle. You can RT.

— SportsandBoobs (@JoKween Noah)

A previous version of this post included four additional tweets which were later removed at the request of users. One user’s tweet has also since been added. (All users gave permission prior to publication.) By request, we’ve also updated the thumbnail photo and blurred an additional photo. The post has been updated to include a link to an analysis of privacy, sexual assault, and Twitter.

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