Winnipeg sex assault victim reaches out on Twitter

A Winnipeg woman says social media has given her the courage to speak out about being sexually assaulted.
Marlo Boux said she doesn’t regret her decision to keep quiet about her sexual assault and said the response to her tweet about it has mostly been positive. (Courtesy Marlo Boux)

A Winnipeg woman says social media has given her the courage to speak out about being sexually assaulted.

The Twitter hashtag #beenrapedneverreported (been raped never reported), which encourages women to share stories of sexual assault, was prompted by the Jian Ghomeshi scandal.

The former CBC radio host is being investigated after a number of allegations.

Although that led to the hashtag being started, many of the stories have no link to Ghomeshi.

But with the issue of sexual assault pushed out of the shadow, many victims are feeling compelled to talk about their own experiences.

"It's been quite triggering actually, and it's been surprising because you think you can put things behind you," said Winnipeg's Marlo Boux.

"It's been quite upsetting watching things unfold over the past week [but] it's been uplifting watching the conversations unfolding. That's a start."

Boux has been reading the Twitter testimonies of sex assault victims and felt empowered to contribute.

"Just seeing other women lending their voice to the story, I just thought if there is some way to add something positive, be some sort of support or encouragement to other men and women who are going through this, survivors, you know I wanted to be a part of this in hopes of helping someone else," she said.

She recently used the #beenrapedneverreported hashtag to tweet the following comment:

It was the first time she had ever spoken — or written — about the incident. Boux didn't want to reveal when or where it happened and has never reported it to police.

“I have a criminal justice and sociology background and [statistics show] very few people who come forward with these complaints actually [have them] lead to a conviction,” she said.

Boux said she doesn’t regret her decision to keep quiet until now and said response to her tweet has mostly been positive.

"I had someone on Twitter actually call me a coward for not reporting it but that just re-enforces why it's so important to talk about this," she said.

"I would never presume to tell a victim one way or another to report or not, just have a good support network in place."

She hopes telling her story gives strength to other women.