If there is one thing you should know about me and social media, its that I place Twitter at the top of my list of must-use social media tools. Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook and spend way too many hours a day on it, but its Twitter that I turn to most for day-to-day information. It’s helped me get through traffic back-ups, severe weather and lets me feel not-so-far-away when something happens back home in Texas.
So needless to say, when the headline, “In Turkey, sometimes it takes a hashtag to be heard” came across PRI’s Across Women’s Lives, it jumped out at me. It talks about the Twitter campaign #sendeanlat — or #tellyourstory — started in Turkey for women to tell their own personal stories about experiencing violence, or in many cases their attempts to avoid the violence.
It came on the heels of 20-year-old Özgecan Aslan being raped and stabbed to death by the driver of her bus. She was on her way home from college to visit her parents in southern Turkey when her life was cut short. According to women’s rights activists in Turkey, the tragedy was just one story of women being harassed, raped, beaten and killed with little-to-no consequences for their attackers.
Through the #sendeanlat / #tellyourstory hashtag, the stories of women going out of their way to avoid violence are just as staggering as the harassment they experience despite their best efforts. Through the hashtag(s), there is a wonderful strength in numbers, and I hope authorities are listening.
Three that jumped out at me, one from the article, two I found reading the hashtag feed myself:
— Capulcu Tonella (@diehimbeertonis) February 15, 2015
Why did these jump out at me? Because they all read like something I would do/have done. Right here in America. Because even if the law is far more strict regarding rape, murder and other violent acts, it doesn’t mean women here don’t still feel the need to be proactive against potential violence.
I used to keep an empty can of husband’s chew on the dashboard of my truck at all times. I’m not entirely sure when I quit doing that. But my hope was it would keep the truck from looking like a woman drove it. I’d often keep a baseball cap in my truck. When I drove home from going out late at night, I’d often throw it on so that perhaps my silhouette would look a little less feminine. I doubled that focus after a Central Texas woman was run off a rural road, kidnapped, raped and beaten in 2006.
When my husband goes on the road, I go out of my way to try to hide the fact he’s not home. I’m careful to keep certain things about my day the same, whether he’s home or not. I refuse to go to the grocery store at night alone. When I was bartending, I loved that most of our regulars refused to let us bartenders walk to our cars alone after closing.
Meanwhile, a tweet like this also stood out to me:
Not long ago, I had someone who left me feeling endlessly uncomfortable. Someone who left me literally sobbing my heart out driving home a few times, because he was so oblivious to how he kept “crossing the line” with me. It got to where I wanted to dress up to go out with my husband, but I’d find myself dressing way down just to avoid comments from this person about how I looked. I almost threw out my favorite pair of boots, because he felt it okay to make leering comments about them.
That’s not okay! That’s NEVER okay! Not here, not in Turkey, not in any country. And perhaps if we can all step up and tell or stories, we can empower each other and open other’s eyes.
Won’t you join in… Please. #sendeanlat … #TellYourStory
#WomensLives is a media partnership between Public Radio International (PRI) and SheKnows Media, BlogHer‘s parent company, aiming to change the portrayal and coverage of women in media. I felt our standing up for ourselves fell right in line with this initiative.