I’ve blogged before about being a survivor of sexual violence, both in my childhood and my adult life. Some details I’ve shared, others I keep private because there are other survivors who share my specific stories and I don’t want to hurt them. But I can tell you #WhyIDidntReport is a trending hashtag that is forcing social media users to reexamine their assumptions of why and how survivors speak out about their experiences.
People can choose to continue burying their heads in the sand or they can listen to the women in their lives.
In my case, here’s why I didn’t report.
Because I was a kid. I didn’t understand what was actually happening, but I did understand that keeping quiet was my responsibility #WhyIDidntReport
Because I was a teenager, had convinced myself that it was harmless & flattering ‘fun’, and knew no one would ever believe that someone like this would do these things to someone like me when they could have lots of sexual activity with other girls #WhyIDidntReport
Because he said he was sorry the next morning and I needed to believe him #WhyIDidntReport
Because I didn’t ‘recover’ memories, I put the pieces together of experiences I had remembered all along. The pieces were always there, always torturing my peace of mind. I ran away from them, but I know that my lack of crystal perfect recall of each detail will be evidence against me. I doubted my own memories for 45+ years, why would anyone else would trust them now? #WhyIDidntReport
Because sexually violent men were part of the fabric of every piece of my childhood. My home wasn’t safe, my school wasn’t safe, my parish wasn’t safe, my neighborhood wasn’t safe and my family wasn’t safe. It was literally everywhere, so where was there a safe space to report anything? #WhyIDidntReport
Because people think that my mental health diagnosis is a reason to doubt me #WhyIDidntReport
Because people tell me that my fat body and my physical appearance are evidence that I am lying because no one would find me desirable, not even predatory abusers #WhyIDidntReport
Because people say that being abused turned me gay #WhyIDidntReport<
Because of the other survivors who don’t want to report and whose lives might have been hurt by my speaking out if people started asking questions about their stories #WhyIDidntReport
Because it took it has taken two days to find the courage to post this even though I’m not really sharing new information #WhyIDidntReport
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