On Thursday morning, Twitter user Jessi (@lovelyjessij) posed a bona fide pandora’s box of a question on her account. The self-proclaimed “feminist, dork, and lush” asked, “What’s the deep dark family secret that you learned as an adult?”
Jessi led with her own family secret, which included a sociopath grandfather.
She wasn’t the only one who was related to a murderer.
Jessi encouraged people on Twitter to anonymously DM her their family secrets, which she figured would result in more responses. She was correct. Dozens upon dozens answered, sharing their own twisted origin stories.
Prevalent were family secrets having to do with parents who kept paternities, as well as actual children, a secret for decades.
Many had family members were not who they said they were.
Some had even darker ancestral tales:
TRIGGER WARNING: A distressing amount of anonymous DMs told heartbreaking and tragic secrets pertaining to rape and molestation.
“I’m so deeply disturbed and saddened by all the DMs I’ve received today about family members molesting and raping children,” wrote Jessi. “My heart hurts over all this.”
Though the overwhelming majority of the DMs related woeful narratives, some were more lighthearted.
And even cathartic.
Not everybody chose to remain anonymous. Hundreds of users openly tweeted out their own family secrets in response to Jessi’s question.
As one Twitter user poignantly noted, Jessi’s thread is “FULL of rape cover-up stories,” which is exactly why it’s so important that women are speaking up for themselves. The more women’s voices are heard, the less women will fear using them.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from sexual assault of any kind, do not hesitate to seek help. Call 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.