This time last week I danced on the tube carriage that I was sexually assaulted on. I was dancing not only for myself, but also for the millions of women across the world that live with the constant threat of sexual harassment. I wanted to take a stand, and to send a message; here is how I got on:
The accompanying blog post explained my motivation. I wanted to share my story publicly because I knew of other women who had experienced similar harassment, I knew that it's a subject many women find it difficult to talk about, and I knew how liberating being open about these incidents could be. Above all, I knew that living with the threat of sexual harassment was wrong, and that it was time to start talking about it.
As I placed my placard down on the northern line carriage I felt a mixture of emotions, just as I had done when writing the blog and reading those initial responses. I felt nauseous, delighted, exhilarated, focused, and really sad all at the same time. It's hard to explain precisely. Looking at the faces of my fellow passengers, I also sensed varied response. Understandably some people avoided looking at me, others were intrigued and stared intently, while others again looked visibly shocked. Overwhelmingly though, I was met with warmth. I was met with the kind supportive smiles of strangers who perhaps identified with my story. Many people approached me afterwards to offer their encouragement and good will, and to tell me of their own experiences.
With over 10,000 blog views in the past week, the response to my story has been extraordinary, and at times, overwhelming. Many people have shared their experiences of assault in London and across the world, they have sent me personal messages of support, and told me how they'd been sharing their own stories with friends for the first time. They told me of occasions where they had been socially and professionally excluded as a result of standing up to harassment, and they have expressed their exasperation and determination to make a change.
I want to be part of a movement where women are empowered to talk about their experiences of harassment without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Let's keep sharing our stories with our friends, families, co-workers, and with the world.
Stay tuned for more information on how to get involved, and use #takebackthetube or @elliecosgrave to get in touch, or leave a comment below.