A new hashtag is highlighting the subtle sexism, sexual harassment and violence women face from an early age.
On Tuesday morning, the UK-based Everyday Sexism Project asked their Twitter followers to share their experiences of sexism, harassment and sexual violence with the hashtag #WhenIWas. Everyday Sexism was created by feminist writer Laura Bates in 2012 as a safe space for people to share their experiences of sexism.
Since Tuesday morning, women of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds have shared their stories on Twitter.
Some women tweeted about being catcalled at ages as young as 9 or 10 years old. Other women shared stories of sexism in the form of sexual comments made by family friends at a young age or sexist dress codes enforced by teachers. The hashtag was also used to share darker stories about rape, molestation and victim-blaming.
As Bates explained to The Huffington Post in a recent interview, many of these smaller incidents of sexism can lead to more violent and serious abuse. "We’re often told not to make a fuss about street harassment or that we’re getting upset about nothing if we talk about media sexism, but you can see from the stories we receive that these things have a [domino] effect," Bates said. "When you normalize these everyday pinpricks, they create an environment that makes the more serious incidents possible."
Scrolling through the hashtag, which now has thousands of tweets, serves as an important reminder that all women experience some form of sexism -- and many experience it at a very young age.
Scroll below to read some of the stories shared with #WhenIWas.
Warning: Some readers may find the below stories triggering.
The hashtag quickly gained traction with people of all genders tweeting their experiences. As of early Tuesday afternoon, 20,000 women shared their stories using #WhenIWas according to Everyday Sexism.
Head to Twitter to share your story using #WhenIWas or to read more stories.