It was the author Kelly Oxford, a social media powerhouse, who got things started on Friday night.
“Women: tweet me your first assaults,” she wrote on Twitter at 7:48 p.m. “They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.”
When she first posted the message, Ms. Oxford said in an interview later, she did not expect more than a handful of replies. “It was such a personal question,” she said. “I thought, ‘No one is going to share anything on Twitter.’”
Yet by Saturday morning, she was getting as many as 50 responses per minute: often-explicit, first-person accounts of molestation. A hashtag had materialized: “#notokay.” The Twitter posts continued to pour in through the weekend. And by Monday afternoon, nearly 27 million people had responded or visited Ms. Oxford’s Twitter page.
As swiftly as the release of a recording of Donald J. Trump engaging in banter about forcing himself on women had dealt a potentially fatal blow to his presidential campaign, it also had become a rallying cry for survivors of sexual assault, harassment and other forms of abuse.