Women everywhere are coming forward with #WhyIDidntReport
In a particularly awful tweet this morning, Donald Trump engaged in the right-wing victim-blaming surrounding Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Dr. Ford recently brought forth very disturbing sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and, unsurprisingly, Trump has been Kavanaugh’s #1 public defender. Especially today, when he decided Dr. Ford’s claims couldn’t be valid because she didn’t report them 36 years years ago, when she says Kavanaugh assaulted her.
Victims of sexual assault took to Twitter and immediately began using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport to let the President — and anyone else with a blindingly sexist take on assault — why we don’t report it.
I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
“Charges would have been immediately filed…” Yeah, that sounds like a nicely wrapped reaction to sexual assault, doesn’t it? Very tidy. And very unrealistic.
It makes me sick that women (and also men) are tearing their wounds open using #WhyIDidntReport because the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES is a vile piece of shit.
— Amir Talai (@AmirTalai) September 21, 2018
According to RAINN, on average, there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States. Women, especially young women, are at much higher risk for being a victim of sexual assault and rape. College-aged women are three times more likely to experience sexual violence.
Out of all of these assaults, only 310 of every 1,000 will be reported to police — which means two out of three assaults go unreported. Of the unreported sexual violence crimes, a majority of victims cited fear of retaliation as the main reason they didn’t report their assault. Many also cited their beliefs that law enforcement wouldn’t do anything to help. 8% of victims believed their assault wasn’t “important enough” to report.
Because I didn't want to admit what happened, even to myself. #WhyIDidntReport
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) September 21, 2018
I was 17. Raped by a friend. I was confused. In denial. Afraid. His parents were richer & better connected than my parents. He was a "good" student. Ppl liked him. The only friend I told–responded w: "He wld never do that." I didn't think anyone would help me. #WhyIDidntReport https://t.co/YbCuIMg07M
— Abigail Hauslohner (@ahauslohner) September 21, 2018
The first time I was raped, I reported it. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life:
-rape unit nurse told me it was my fault cuz I drank
-cop told me my case had no chance
-hospital "lost" my rape kit AND my medical records (risking my identity)#WhyIDidntReport
— Chelsea Levinson (@ChelsProcessing) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport because I was a new private in the Army, deployed overseas, and didn't know anyone. I trusted him because he was my NCO. Everyone loved him, he could no wrong, no one would have believed me.
— Chrissy (@MzKhrisCoop) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport because it’s been 12 years and I still haven’t found the words or strength to say it out loud.
There are many like me.
— Christie (@Christie_D22) September 21, 2018
I did report. I went to the hospital and the SVU in Brooklyn and told them what happened to me.
They told me what I described was a rape. I was starting law school in 3 weeks so I decided not to press charges. Biggest mistake of my life. #WhyIDidntReport
— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport because reporting means telling your story over and over again. Means having to relive one of the most traumatic experiences over and over. And in the end most likely not being believed
— Alison Turkos (@alisonturkos) September 21, 2018
This is how victims of sexual assault are conditioned to think — that our assault isn’t important enough. That police, college administrators, or community leaders won’t care anyway. That we’ll be ostracized for coming forward. That the anger and retaliation abusers and their supporters will engage in will be worse than suffering in silence.
Let’s not forget, Donald Trump gave the exact response to Dr. Ford’s allegations that a man who has been accused of sexual misconduct multiples times himself would give. An abuser’s response.
It was 1982. The same period that Jessica Leeds says Donald Trump groped her on an airplane.
Leeds told NYT she didn't bother complaining to airplane staff, bc this type of stuff happened all the time in the 80s:
“We accepted it for years. We were taught it was our fault.” https://t.co/t4trtUWBva
— Gillian Brockell (@gbrockell) September 21, 2018
1. It wasn't the FBI's jurisdiction.
2. In 2007, I was groped during a flight – which *is* the FBI's jurisdiction. When called, the FBI "declined to respond." An agent later told my boss "we don't have time to prosecute whenever a stewardess gets felt up."https://t.co/Cpk6XtEm7Q
— Gillian Brockell (@gbrockell) September 21, 2018
Every single #WhyIDidntReport story is heartbreaking and deserves to be read and listened to. I didn’t report my own because I was more scared of what would happen to my life if I did, than of the trauma of burying it and shaming myself into silence.
We must believe women. We must listen to their stories. But it feels impossible to change the cultural landscape of how we talk about sexual assault, how we treat victims of violent sexual crimes, when the leaders and men in power won’t hear our voices.