Ione Wells: How we talk about sexual assault online
Ione Wells - Writer, activist
University student Ione Wells is the founder of the international #NotGuilty campaign against sexual violence and misdirected victim blaming. Full bio
for a couple of weeks;
as we were all reunited.
back to the other side of London.
approached out of nowhere
what was happening,
so that I could not breathe,
dragged me to the ground,
against the pavement
and telling me to "shut up,"
to the concrete ground,
that still haunts me today:
I'd been followed the whole way
in front of the police,
on my naked body photographed
the all-consuming feelings
and injustice that I was ridden with
to condense these feelings
that I could work through,
felt most natural to me:
of the very community
abused that night.
effect of his actions,
of the people in your life?
in your life are.
who served everyone coffee
these relations to me
every single one of them.
will never cease to fight for,
good people in the world than bad."
this one incident make me lose faith
or humanity as a whole,
in July 2005 on London transport,
and indeed my own parents,
on the tubes the next day,
walking home after dark.
or submit to the idea
in danger in doing so.
to come together, like an army,
of our community is threatened.
on the local student paper there.
friends and family supporting me,
who'd been through this before;
and knew how common sexual assault was,
a single person
about an experience of this kind before.
my letter in the student paper,
and be feeling the same way.
with their experiences
could express themselves
about what happened to them --
stand up to sexual assault.
is that almost overnight,
hundreds of stories
on a website I set up.
who described how on an evening out,
to repeatedly grab her crotch.
on a visit to London
by anyone he reported his case to.
from people in India and South America,
the message of the campaign there?
was from a woman called [Nikki],
being molested my her own father.
from those that happened last week
that I'd had no idea about.
to receive these messages,
to receive messages of hope --
by this community of voices
and cared about for a long time,
of the stories posted here,
women can move forward,
as them someday.
tweeting under this hashtag,
and covered by the national press,
other languages worldwide.
about the media attention
or something surprising.
is not something new.
kinds of injustices,
as not just news stories,
that had affected real people,
with the solidarity of others,
and had previously lacked:
or to blame for what happened to them
to reduce stigma around the issue.
were at the forefront of the story --
or commentators on social media.
for igniting social change.
of, "Oh, my train's been delayed,"
genocides, terrorist attacks.
to leap to react to any kind of grievance
that we, too, have reacted.
in this manner en masse
that we don't actually react at all,
doing anything, anyway.
to a group mourning or outrage,
affected by the injustice,
for some reactions to injustice
with the hope of providing easy solutions
on the publication of my letter,
Online Campaign to Shame Attacker."
meant to shame anyone.
and to make others listen.
to create even more injustice,
my attacker's ethnicity or class
of feigning the whole thing
"Hey guys! Sorry I can't make it,
the entire male population
the things the say in person.
be behind a screen,
they're doing is a public act --
and be affected by it.
of getting back on our trains,
about this noise that escalates
into portraying us as the affected party,
any opportunity for positivity or change
before the campaign started
to Nelson Mandela.
she told really struck me.
Mandela was taken to court
an inquiry into sports affairs.
Rugby Union's lawyers,
each in their own language.
to determine the grounds for battle."
they were so important,
down in a notebook I had on me.
a lot ever since.
in the face of wrong,
negative events of injustice
determine the grounds for battle,
become the affected,
for interconnectivity and community
a social media response,
of the #NotGuilty campaign
a more considered approach
to respond to injustice.
is to ask ourselves two things.
several answers to this.
wouldn't have to be held to account
of men and women suffer every day
the same airtime to as other issues.
blame victims for.
in recognizing these reasons,
to account -- and many others.
on the effect they had caused.
to the issue of sexual assault,
amongst families, in the media
shouldn't feel to blame
in solving this problem entirely.
as an active tool for social justice,
to stimulate dialogues,
of authority aware of an issue
directly affected by it.
don't have easy answers.
can't give them a considered response.
you can't go about thinking
this feeling of injustice,
maybe not what you can do,
by fighting injustice with more prejudice,
directly affected by an injustice.
only to forget about it the next day,
of Twitter has moved on.
instantly is, ironically,
of action we can take.
and energized by injustice,
without descending into a culture
and injustice ourselves.
to think before we speak,
have a screen in front of us.
of those affected,
where you're not the exception
that has actually happened to you.
approaches to injustice
on which the internet was built:
bringing people together,
"justice" in the dictionary,
or judicial authority,
more "right" in this world
to deliver that,
form of justice, indeed.
About the speaker:Ione Wells - Writer, activist
University student Ione Wells is the founder of the international #NotGuilty campaign against sexual violence and misdirected victim blaming.
Why you should listen
Ione Wells is a student at the University of Oxford in the UK, where she just started her third year reading for a degree in English Language and Literature, and a keen writer and journalist.
After being the victim of an assault in London in early 2015, she published a letter to her assaulter in a student newspaper, which went viral, attracting enormous attention and prompting the sharing of countless experiences by others around the world on social media.
That reaction prompted her to set up the international #NotGuilty campaign against sexual violence and misdirected victim-blaming, which has a website providing a platform for people to speak out. Since then, she has written about these issues for multiple publications, commented on radio and television, spoken at several festivals, hosted support groups and workshops for survivors of assault, and led workshops in schools.
She is the former editor of Oxford University’s student magazine, The Isis, and has an active interest in human rights, international relations, theatre, and wild swimming.
Ione Wells | Speaker | TED.com