By Brian Pacheco
October 14, 2017
Why don’t victims report their sexual assault?
Just go on Twitter and follow the hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport and you’ll see exactly why. The hashtag actually started last October. It trended on the social networking service to raise awareness around why some women don’t report rape or sexual assault when it happens. But it went viral once again last week after the recent Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations.
The truth is that it can often takes years for sexual assault survivors to feel safe enough to come forward. In fact, research shows fear of retaliation is one of the most common reasons why victims do not report. “The truth is it’s not easy to come forward… Disclosing opens the floodgates of questions such as, ‘What’s next? Do I report? Will I be believed?” says VP of Child Advocacy and Mental Health Treatment at Safe Horizon, Nancy Arnow MSW.
I followed the hashtag and was amazed by the conversation. Here are the eight most heartbreaking tweets that I saw that exposed the reality of why victims may not report their sexual assault right away, until sometime later… or never.
Sexual violence comes from men we know. Men we need. Men we respect. Men we love. It’s how they get away with it. #whywomendontreport
— Jessica L. Merolli (@JLMerolli) October 11, 2017
Fear of retaliation by the abuser or that the perpetrator will get off even if they do report. #whywomendontreport #whyvictimsdontreport
— Safe Horizon (@SafeHorizon) October 14, 2017
Here’s a thought. When a woman opens up about assault and harassment don’t question her or condescend her. Just listen. #whywomendontreport
— ImJustSayin (@YvisC) October 6, 2017
I was in college. I reported it. He told everyone I was lying. People hated me. School found him not responsible. #WhyWomenDontReport
— Aditi Juneja (@AditiJuneja3) October 11, 2017
-it didn’t happen
-it didn’t happen like that
-it was consensual
-she just wants fame & $
-look at her history!
— Mar-Bird (@LadyBirdOsprey) October 14, 2017
There are very compelling reasons a victim would not report their assault: fear of retaliation if the assailant were to be investigated, anxiety over a possible trial where they will have to relive the trauma of what happened, or believing that their abuser will get off even if they do report.
I work with rape victims. Even with rape kits & physical/DNA evidence there is rarely a conviction. #WhyWomenDontReport #NoJustice
— Kelly Lynne (@KKoz03) October 14, 2017
Sexual assault is NOT bad behaviour!! IT IS A CRIME. End of story. Reporters – change the dialogue. Please. #whywomendontreport
— R Edwards (@Lucy4141) October 12, 2017
The perp told me he’d hurt my family if I spoke up. I was 14 & given a roofie. I said nothing until I was 33. #whywomendontreport
— NYC resistance (@Tracy330507) October 13, 2017