#BeenRapedNeverReported Gives Women Space To Share Stories Of Sexual Assault

Trigger warning: This article contains information about sexual violence which may be triggering to survivors.

Women and men are sharing their first-hand stories about rape — and reasons why they never reported the assaults — on social media, as the accusations against former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi continue. [UPDATE: As of Friday at noon, the topic was the fifth most popular in Canada, and was trending worldwide.]

The hashtag #BeenRapedNeverReported surfaced on Twitter Thursday and women are using it to talk about their experiences with sexual assault.

The hashtag surfaced in a tweet by Toronto Star writer Antonia Zerbisias, who said she had been raped more than once but never came forward.

From there, Zerbisias shared her experiences:

And other users followed with their own:

Other hashtags such as #IBelieveLucy and #IBelieveThem have gathered momentum in recent days since the Ghomeshi allegations broke, as the conversation around the problems with supporting victims of sexual assault victims comes to the forefront.

In a first-hand account of her experience with Jian Ghomeshi, where she says Ghomeshi became sexually violent and aggressive with her, Reva Seth shares her reasons for not reporting the incident. She wanted to go on with her life, she says.

"And even if I had wanted to do something, as a lawyer, I'm well aware that the scenario was just a "he said/she said" situation. I was aware that I, as a woman who had had a drink or two, shared a joint, had gone to his house willingly and had a sexual past, would be eviscerated. Cultural frameworks on this are powerful."

This week, however, we're starting to see how equally powerful the sharing of stories can be.