With the rise of the #metoo movement in recent years and a string of high-profile cases, it appears that we as a society are finally getting to grips with an insidious yet heartbreakingly common issue – invasive, aggressive and unwanted sexual predator advances.

Previously, people who experienced this scary and dehumanizing behavior have been implicitly encouraged to either ignore it or simply accept sexual assaults as ‘normal’ – our collective refusal to face up to the problem has been the main cause of this. Lame excuses like ‘boys will be boys,’ or ‘it’s just because he likes you,’ leave many victims feeling like everything was somehow their own fault, so they instead have to suffer in silence along with feelings of guilt and shame.

Women (and also some men) are staying silent no longer.

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Image credits: KenidraRWoods_

Image credits: KenidraRWoods_

After Twitter user KenidraRWoods asked women to speak up, the responses came in heartbreakingly large numbers.

According to a study by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), an American is sexually assaulted, groped, catcalled or harassed every 92 seconds – sexual abuse and its normalization is a problem that is deeply rooted in our culture.

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Many men joined in the conversation, shocked by the everyday experiences that women are faced with and vowing to help address the issue through understanding, education and the willingness to confront inappropriate sexual behavior when they see it.

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What do you think? Are initiatives like #metoo helping to confront the issue of sexual violence? What else can we do to turn around casual and corrosive attitudes towards it? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.