Twitter can be a powerful tool. That was the case this weekend, when women came together in a "digital demonstration" of solidarity in response to the mass killings at UCSB.
Using the hashtag #YesAllWomen, the initial response to the murderer's hate-filled video soon took on a life of its own, with women from all over the world sharing sobering quotes, statistics, facts, and their personal or collective experiences of abuse, sexism, violence, and harrassment. Voices that are all too often silenced by sexism and fear suddenly found a collective voice through #YesAllWomen, and it continues to swell.
There's an amazing map showing the conversation as it's happening—it's still sparking all over the globe. Mashable has the story of how the hashtag began, and then grew to be the biggest women's advocacy movement Twitter has seen.
According to the Guardian, more than 250,000 tweets with the hashtag #YesAllWomen were sent out in 24 hours, propelling #YesAllWomen to be one of the top "trends" of the weekend. Locally, it was the biggest Twitter trend of the last three days.
Of course, powerful, honest tweets about personal, heartbreaking experiences and hard truths about sexism and abuse are more than an ephemeral trend. They're stories to be heard. Because they are stories every single woman experiences.
Here is just a sampling of some of the tweets.
So what happens next? Where do we go from here? #YesAllWomen is still trending. Anyone can be part of the conversation. And we can do something else just as powerful: We can listen.
Molly Priesmeyer is the co-owner of Good Work Group, a creative and storytelling consultancy dedicated to helping mission-driven businesses and organizations succeed. Her stories on culture, the arts, and the environment have appeared in the Star Tribune; Pioneer Press; Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine; Rolling Stone; MinnPost; and others. She's been working on her novel, "Why Me? A Martyr's Guide to Live," since 5th grade. She can be reached at www.mollypriesmeyer.com.