“He/she was sexually assaulted years ago? Why the heck didn’t they report it?!”
[This is NOT a blog about Kavanaugh. I had these thoughts months ago, before I knew the guy existed.]
Are you honestly wondering why people don’t report abuse? Or are you judging?
If you have made up your mind and do not care enough to actually hear WHY people don’t report it, then that is pretty disappointing. I mean, if you don’t care about people, then why are you even here? If you don’t care about people, what DO you care about? I would invite you to ask yourself WHY you don’t care. Honestly. Why? You don’t have to tell me. Just tell yourself. Be curious about why you feel that way. Maybe you will learn something about yourself.
If you are honestly curious to know why people don’t report sexual abuse, I do appreciate that you are at least trying to understand. Wanna understand? Go to Twitter and search for the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport. You will find more tweets than you can count. Among them, you will find stories of sexual assault, and reasons why the survivors did not report. I do not wish to copy/paste the horrific assault details. But here are a few sample reasons that I read:
Why People Didn’t Report:
- I did tell my father. He didn’t believe me.
- Because it was 5 US Air Force cadets, and I feared nobody would believe me.
- Because my life was threatened.
- Because I wasn’t ready to confront it. And I’m still not.
- I did report it. I was told there was no proof because I showered.
- Because he was a police officer.
- I told my roommate. She didn’t believe me so I showed her my bruises. She still didn’t believe me, so she called the guy and confronted him in front of me. He denied it, and she said she refused to “take a side.”
- I did report it. I was bullied and received death threats. People treated me with contempt for making a big deal out of it. I lost a lot of friends. Nobody asked how I was doing.
- Because at 16, I didn’t even realize it was a crime.
- He was my dad. How do you report your dad?
- I don’t owe ANYONE the reasons why I didn’t report.
- I didn’t want to break my parents’ hearts.
- When I reported, the 3 attackers got promoted to special forces and I got sent to “anger management.”
- He threatened to take my son away.
- Because he was my brother. I was 10 years old and I didn’t even know what was going on.
- As a gay man, some say I asked for it, that I provoked it. I did not.
- Because I was in a crowded swimming pool and I had no idea who had done it. I was 8 years old.
- When I finally reported, I lost my athletic scholarship and had to drop out of school.
- Because I had never seen a survivor come forward and be treated with dignity, so why would I believe my case would be any different?
- I waited over 20 years to report my sexual abuser. Because I was 14. Because it was my hero. Because it was my priest. Because I thought I’d be expelled. Because I feared no one would believe me. Because I thought suicide was easier than telling 1 person
- [comment from me] After posting this blog, I had several women reach out to me. One of them said that after she was assaulted, she reported it and he walked free. He proceeded to rape 3 more women.
I feel I should make one thing clear: my post is NOT about the Kavanaugh story. It’s about sexual assault. I noticed people asking the “why didn’t they report” question during the Bill Cosby story, then again during the Harvey Weinstein story. Most people were horrified at the stories that survivors were sharing. But there were many people (men and women!) who didn’t seem to care at all about these awful stories; they cared more about why survivors didn’t speak out right away. The Kavanaugh story is the story of the day/week/month–but this topic of sexual assault will pop up again, in a different story. Each time, I beg for you to show some compassion. Be careful what you say. One day YOU will go through something awful (hopefully not THIS awful) and I hope that people support you instead of mocking or doubting or criticizing you.
- But…some people lie to get attention, revenge, money, etc. Yes, some people do. This study shows that 2% of assault reports are lies. Which means that 98% of them are not.
- But…it’s crazy to not report it. 60% of rapes go unreported. Why? Read bullets above. Also, people are NOT hopeful that all that stress and re-living the trauma will lead to justice. See statistic below.
- Reporting a rape will lead to arrest. Actually, 994 out of 1000 rapists walk free.
- I have two questions for you: 1. How many times has a trusted friend told you that they were falsely accused of rape or assault? Take a minute to think. Write that number down. 2. How many times has a trusted friend told you that they were sexually assaulted? Compare those numbers.
Please. Please do not choose to be someone who just doesn’t give a shit. If you are capable of reading people’s stories and capable of reading these statistics, and you still are not likely to believe a person when they say they’ve been assaulted, you have clearly made up your mind. I wonder why? What are you trying to prove? Something to think about.