Warning: Some people may find the language in this post offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana Daily Student staff members shared their experiences of sexual assault with readers on Sunday as part of a social media movement to put faces behind the stats of sexual assault.
Over a dozen reporters and editors shared their stories of sexual assault after being moved by Kelly Oxford, a New York Times best-selling author and social media personality.
Last Friday after a 2005 recording of Trump making offensive and misogynistic comments about women was released, Oxford tweeted five of her own experiences of sexual assault using #NotOkay. She asked others to share their stories, and thousands of people did, turning #NotOkay into a trending Twitter topic.
By Saturday night, nearly 10 million people had reacted to her discussion on Twitter.
Eventually, Oxford tweeted: "women have tweeted me sexual assault stories for 14 hours straight. Minimum 50 per minute. harrowing. do not ignore. #notokay"
Inspired by Oxford's tweets, IDS staffers asked their readers to submit their own stories of sexual assault. After a couple hours, they decided to jumpstart the conversation by submitting their own.
“I think that if we were asking them to share our own stories, they deserved the same type of thing from us and hearing us come forward with our names on the record saying this happened to me," said Editor-in-Chief, Alison Graham.
“We wanted each person to tweet their own from their own personal accounts so people could click on the person’s name and see that they’re actually a real person and that this happened to them," Graham said.
Graham said the decision to publicly post their own personal stories of sexual assault wasn't easy.
“We were reading through the tweets from our own staff and were just shocked that so many of us out of this group of people have been affected at some level," Graham said.
Graham's own account depicted an incident where she woke up after a party wearing only her underwear. She says she was afraid to ask others about what happened, and she never did.
IDS Managing Editor, Emily Ernsberger also shared her own account of a boyfriend who became too aggressive while pursuing sex with her.
She also struggled with the decision to publicly tweet her experience.
“This whole project was like just do it before we psyche ourselves out, we’re going to do this," Ernsberger said. "I hope other women speak out because you can’t silence yourself either when there are so many people who are doing it.”
So far, the response from supporters and others sharing their stories has been overwhelming, Ernsberger said.
“We’ve got tons of emails already to our Investigations Editor, Hannah, to say yes I want to speak to you for further stories," she said.
The IDS staffers shared their stories Sunday evening in hopes of starting a larger conversation with the Bloomington community and IU campus.
The publication is also asking viewers to submit their own stories. If you have a sexual assault story you would like to share, you can contact the IDS about this project at email@example.com.
Indiana University spokesperson Margie Smith-Simmons released the following statement regarding the story:
"Education is an important way of increasing public awareness around issues related to sexual violence and assault. Indiana University is committed to the safety and well-being of all members of the IU community and strongly encourages students and employees to report any incident of sexual misconduct or sexual assault to IUPD or other appropriate authorities. Stopsexualviolence.iu.edu offers general information and links to campus-specific resources."