11 Women On Why They Never Reported Their Sexual Assault

These women have not reported their sexual assault because of the way they were treated when they told someone about it- these are words of some women who hope to report the sexual harassment soon. All names have been changed.
Black and white rose fully bloomed against a black background
Rodion Kutsaev / Unsplash

According to Sindee Gozanskly, LCPC (A Simple Therapy, Portland, Maine):

“We respond to the pain of being sexually harassed with anger because it is part of our natural physiology. Our fight-flight-freeze response (from our brain’s limbic system) is activated when we are threatened. This says a lot about why some women can ‘tell’ about the harassment and confront it right away, while others may withdraw and not come forward for years, if ever. Our limbic response kicks in whenever we sense danger or actually have our physical or emotional integrity violated. And then it kicks in again every time a reminder, trigger or cue comes up after the incident has occurred, fueling the angry response to that pain and fear. So the anger resides with the woman as a companion to the assault, trying to protect her. But what society doesn’t see is that the anger is trying to communicate the pain and hurt underneath. Being able to express that vulnerability in a safe, nonjudgmental world without counterattack is the only way to let healing begin.”


1.

“I am scared it will become too real if I have it documented because right now, sometimes I can pretend it never happened. I cannot grasp the reality of the nightmare and feel the more I hide it the longer it will stay true. I am scared my family will find out. I know I should report him but I need some time.” —Mel, 24


2.

“I always encouraged other women to be brave and speak up, but when it happened to me- I lost my voice. It is easy to tell others what to do but it is a completely different thing when it happens to you. I need someone to tell me to be brave.” — Brianna, 29


3.

“I told my two best friends and they abandoned me. I did not hear back from them for two weeks. I understand everyone will not react that way but how could I tell others when the people closest to me let me down?” — Ally, 32


4.

“Every time I take a bath- I scrub my skin so hard that I have bruises and have to wear long sleeves all the time- I never feel clean enough, I can still smell it. Waiting for the smell to be gone first before I can tell anyone. I pray every day for the smell to be gone. I feel it is getting fainter.” — Tina, 36


5.

“I don’t know what to feel or what to do. One minute I am having a blast with my friends and the other minute I am down on the ground crying. I am trying to figure out my own emotions. It sounds crazy, sometimes I feel crazy.” — Rose, 27


6.

“I am scared people will think it was my fault. I am scared my parents will disown me. I am scared God will punish me for my sins. I am scared no one else will ever love me again because I am impure. I pray to have the strength to talk about this, have justice be served and move on with my life. I just want to be happy.” — Cass, 23


7.

“I get so angry. I snap at the smallest things. I drink all the time. I do pills, I smoke- I do whatever I think will make me forget. But the more I try to forget- the angrier I get. I told one of my coworkers and she actually listened- and she told me to stop drinking and that she would come with me to the police whenever I am ready. I want to go with her. I need her to hold my hand.” — Kaia, 28


8.

“I feel so humiliated. It took me time to come to terms with what happened, and right now I have no proof. It is my word against his.” — Kim, 39


9.

“I told my friend and he asked if I was sure it was an assault, and if I was sure I did not want it. He said maybe I drank too much or maybe it was what I wore that gave the wrong idea. Instead of being there for me- I felt like I had to defend myself to my own friend. I had to try to convince someone who had known me for years that I had been assaulted; it turned into ‘how a girl should dress or act if she does not want to be assaulted’ speech. If that is how a loved one treats someone – how will strangers treat me?” — Sasha, 38


10.

“I told my friend and she did not believe me, I felt so stupid then I did not know who to tell. Would anyone believe what I had to say? What kind of questions would they ask me? How would I answer them?” — Mary, 25


11.

“I am not worried to report it. I am scared how this will affect my father to know that someone of his kind did this to his little girl. I cannot imagine the pain he will feel. I know I will heal with time but I don’t think he ever will.” — Sienna, 33 TC mark

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