It began with an appeal from author Kelly Oxford on Twitter.
“Women: tweet me your first assaults. They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first,” she wrote. “Old man on city bus grabs my…and smiles at me, I’m 12”.
She uses the hashtag “notokay.”
It appeared Donald Trump’s comments on women in 2005 did not just ignite political discussions, but deeply personal ones too.
At one point, Oxford received more than 50 responses per minute from as far away as Pakistan.
“You know it’s not okay when you have so many stories of harassment that you can’t decide which one to tweet under 140 characters,” tweeted Maryam Afdab.
Amy Beichler weighed in too.
Now the director of PAWS Ohio, she had once worked in construction and said her job fell through after a coworker did the unthinkable 22 years back.
“I was sexually assaulted on the job by a union steward that was supposed to be there to protect me,” she said. “He trapped me in a trailer, grabbed me from behind.”
Unless someone has survived an assault, she said you can never fully understand the impact.
“That you don’t feel like you can take care of yourself, that you don’t feel like you can stand up for yourself,” she said. “That’s what it did to me.”
Donald Trump has maintained his words do not reflect who he is, while targeting his opponent’s husband during both his apology and Sunday’s debate.
“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse,” Trump said. “Mine are words and his was action.”
Amy Beichler’s attacker eventually served jail time for the crime. She said choosing to talk about her story now has been a therapeutic experience.