It’s all over the news, the internet; I’ve been hearing it from my family, and I call think about is if they knew- would they really be saying that if they knew what happened to me? If they knew their daughter/ granddaughter, had been a victim of rape, and she never reported?
I was out to dinner with my grandma recently, and the topic of Dr. Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh came up in discussion. My grandma said, “This happened 30 something years ago, why did she wait so long to report?”
I had heard this too many times, and was at my breaking point. I wanted so badly to shout, “I didn’t report either!”
My friends and psychiatrist (and internet) are the only ones who know about my rape. It happened over a year ago, and I still can’t find the courage to tell my dad (who I tell EVERYTHING) what happened.
Out of 1000 rapes, only 310 will report to the police (RAINN).
Every victim has a different story, and reasons why they didn’t report their sexual assault.
I can’t speak for all victims, but I’m sure we all have similar reasons.
I didn’t report because he had money- and he could easily make the whole thing go away.
I didn’t report because he was a young, white, college-educated male- we all know how that goes (Ex. Brock Turner)
I didn’t report because if I had taken that case to trial, I would have been bombarded with questions like, “What were you wearing? Were you drinking? Why did you go home with him?”
It would have been me who would be the target of all these questions- as if I was the one who caused the rape. I must have done something to provoke it. If I had only covered up more. If I didn’t go home with him.
Those questions plagued me for months, and occasionally, they still come back. I wonder what would have happened if I had done one thing differently- maybe the whole thing wouldn’t have even happened.
I have to quickly remind myself that none of it was my fault. Nothing I did or didn’t do was the reason it happened.
It was him.
He should have listened when I told him the day before I didn’t want to have sex.
He should have been able to read the signals when I wasn’t moving or speaking.
These are just a few of the reasons why victims don’t report.
It has never been about receiving justice for us, but victim blaming and questioning why we waited so long.
Until the criminal justice system changes, victims are not going to report. Why would they? Why would they go through a trial just to see their rapist walk free?
So why is Brett Kavanaugh getting approved and sworn in so important? Why won’t people stop talking about it?
Because this isn’t a political issue. It doesn’t matter if you’re republican or a democrat; no one should feel that they can’t report or talk about their experience with the fear of getting shut down like Dr. Ford.
So before you ask the question, “Why didn’t you report sooner?”
Think long and hard about what sexual assault does to a person. Emotionally. Physically.
No one wants to relive the memory about having their clothes ripped off or body freezing because their brain is going into shock.
Something like that does not heal overnight; most times, it doesn’t heal at all.
I will forever have to remember that my first time was with a boy who cared so little of me that he thought it was okay to force himself in me because he wanted to.
It was already hard enough for me to walk the streets of New York City alone thinking about that possibility that I was going to get harassed by a man, verbally or physically.
Now I refuse to walk alone. My pepper spray is constantly in my hand.
I am terrified to go to office hours with my male teacher.
I was told by a boy (who I was brave enough to open up to about my assault) that it was “no wonder you got raped, it must have something to do with the way you act”
Do you understand why now I didn’t report? Or why most victims don’t?
All of us want justice for what happened to us, but the system we are supposed to have faith in, never seems to give it to us.