In a viral TikTok video, a sexual assault survivor says she wore the same outfit she was in when she was assaulted at the hearing and started a conversation in the comments about empowering survivors.
According to sexual violence organization RAINN, one American is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds, while one in six American women has experienced a completed or attempted rape in her lifetime.
“What were you wearing?” is a frequently asked question of sexual assault survivors and in many cases plays a role in blaming survivors for the crimes committed against them.
However, user @leahfilmer decided to defend herself in court against both the victim and her perpetrator’s accusations by wearing the same outfit she was in when she was sexually assaulted.
“‘You will not wear to the hearing the clothes he[sexually assaulted]you in,'” the text overlay reads, before the video transitions to show her in the sweatpants and tank top she is said to be wearing was attacked.
Her video received over 2,000,000 views and a wave of support from other users.
“I don’t know you but I’m proud of you baby,” said one user.
“This was beautiful and powerful, thanks for sharing honestly,” said another.
Some users noted the TikToker’s strength in being able to wear the clothes again in a way they personally couldn’t after their assaults.
“It’s so strong and powerful. I couldn’t even look at these clothes for months after it happened,” said one user.
“I admire your strength. I had to throw them away and never look at them again,” said another.
Other users said they also wore the outfits they were sexually assaulted in to argue in court.
“I did the same and everyone thought I was crazy. proud of you,” said one user.
“It was me! His face grimaced when he saw me coming in,” said another
However, several viewers cautioned against wearing the outfit to avoid harming their case, as they expect professional court attire.
“Baby this is so powerful but trust me you want to appear in court in professional attire it’s a mess but it will help your case ☹️,” said one user.
“It’s a fantastic message and we understand it, but the judge may not. Consult with your lawyer, don’t do anything that could work against you 💕,” said another.
The Daily Dot contacted user @leahfilmer via TikTok comment.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, harassment, or violence, or need additional resources about sexual assault, contact the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center at nsvrc.org.
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*Initial publication: April 15, 2022 at 11:04 am CDT
Laiken Neumann is a freelance journalist based in Austin, Texas, covering culture, entertainment and social justice.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/assault-survivor-outfit/ Survivor wears outfit she was allegedly attacked in to her hearing