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Women come forward with their ‘97 Percent’ stories

Sami Geiger

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TV talk
May 5, 2021
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TikTok “97 Percent” trend goes viral

This story contains sensitive topics including sexual assault.

If you’ve been scrolling through TikTok recently, you’ve probably seen videos regarding “97 Percent”. This trend has been dominating social media.

The97 Percent” trend refers to the 97% of women in the United States who have been sexually assaulted.

Women of all ages came forward and posted videos of themselves showing the outfit they wore when the assault happened.

The number one question asked after a woman is sexually assaulted is, “What were you wearing?” As if that had anything to do with what happened.

These women who came forward voiced when they became part of the 97%.

I became part of the 97% when I was only 10 years old.

I was so young and naïve that I don’t even remember what I was wearing — it happened over a period of time, so many outfits were worn. It was my friends’ dad.

Nine years later, I joined the 97% again at 19 years old. This time I was wearing a pink long-sleeved shirt, ripped jeans and white vans. It happened on campus. 

Both outfits were thrown away and both times I was asked what I was wearing when it happened.

Those two instances left me part of the 97% of women who were left broken, violated, in fear and asking if it was something they did wrong.

Every time I leave the house, I ask myself if the outfit I am wearing says something about me.

Clothing should have nothing to do with sexual assault. It shouldn’t matter what women are wearing when it happens.

Dressing sexy isn’t a way of asking to be touched, hit on or catcalled. Dressing sexy is for a girl’s night out, feeling confident and feeling comfortable. Dressing sexy isn’t consent.

No outfit is asking for it.

It’s not all men, but it’s enough. Women are uncomfortable around men, women are begged for nudes, women receive unwanted pictures or are followed while walking alone.

I live in a world where I feel unsafe walking to my car in a secured underground parking garage, shopping alone or even putting gas in my car alone.

An exhibit at the Bundy Museum in Binghamton, New York showcases actual outfits from sexual assault survivors. The museum explores the “what you were wearing” myth. It proves it doesn’t matter what you were wearing when it happened.

This movement protects girls and women who are a part of the 97%. On the other hand, 97% of women are called liars and are only coming forward to get attention.

Those individuals who are calling the 97% of women liars don’t know the whole story and they weren’t there to experience it.

It happens and it happens far too often.

Women shouldn’t have to live in fear. Women shouldn’t have to defend themselves for what happened to them. Women shouldn’t be questioned about what they were wearing when it happened. Women shouldn’t fear of not being taken seriously. 

Women should be respected. 

Protect the 3% and support 100% of women.

Geiger can be reached at [email protected]