When I went away to college, my mom made sure I packed pepper spray with me, and I was far from the only one to do so: Many of my dorm mates brought theirs with them, too. We were just starting our adult lives, and we already had the sense that we weren't entirely safe in the world.
As this past weekend's SNL skit "Welcome to Hell" sadly brought to the forefront, it's not at all uncommon for women to walk home clutching a fistful of keys, either. (See: Kate McKinnon's character.)
Last night, a woman sent a tweet that showed just what a staggering amount of women feel unsafe enough to carry pepper spray to protect themselves.
She said: "Ladies, retweet this if you’ve bought pepper spray at any point in your lives."
And retweet they did. Her statement picked up speed quickly, and has over 2,100 RTs and over 1,300 likes so far — as well as many chilling responses, like these:
Chances are, you know multiple people who have posted the #MeToo hashtag. It's not always easy to know what to say when someone you know has experienced sexual harassment, but we've put together some tips here. Tweets like the one above show just how prevalent harassment is in the culture, and how far our institutions still have to go to reform.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).