The Heartbreaking Reason Women Are Tweeting the Hashtag #WhenIWas

April 19th 2016

Taylor Bell

Women are using the Twitter hashtag #WhenIWas to share their earliest memories of being sexually harassed and assaulted as children.

The hashtag, which was created by the Everyday Sexism Progject, encourages women to speak out about how young they were when they first experienced sexual harassment, Mashable reports. The organization hopes to raise awareness about how being sexually harassed at a young age can impact a person for the rest of their life.

"It really blew me away," founder of Everyday Sexism Laura Bates told Mic. "It's so widespread but its so often dismissed or disbelieved...These things start when girls are as young as eight or 10 years old, and it's important to recognize that these things have a lifelong impact."

Shortly after the hashtag began, women quickly began tweeting their disturbing accounts of sexual harassment when they were minors. The stories include everything from rape and victim-blaming, to childhood molestation and sexual comments from older men.

Here are some of the tweets:

Children make up an overwhelming portion of sexual assault victims.

Sixty-seven percent of all sexual assault cases reported to law enforcement agencies involve minors. In addition, children under twelve years old account for 34 percent of those cases, and children under six years old account for 14 percent of those cases.

Furthermore, research by the Crimes against Children Research Center states that victims know their abusers in 90-percent of cases, meaning they are often vulnerable to harassment from people they trust.

Abuse statistics

ATTN: reached out to Everyday Sexism but did not receive a response in time for publication