You Don’t Owe Anyone A #WhyIDidntReport

woman standing near wall
Ting Tian / Unsplash

Please do not feel pressure to participate in #WhyIDidntReport. You have done enough already. This movement is a not so subtle vehicle for victim blaming veiled in a progressive hashtag. #MeToo was a way for us to come forward, be seen, and find each other. #MeToo was a means to get one another out of the shadows and shine a light on our vast and varied experiences. By stating #MeToo we had the opportunity to convey a collective trauma without having to put personal, and often painful, details out into the world.

A power exists in illuminating our collective experiences but does not demand the need to explicitly describe each person’s individual event. #WhyIDidntReport is a way to shine an investigative light and put survivors under the microscope asking them to explain themselves. Often, women who partake in #WhyIDidntReport write in explicit detail of their assault and lay out the ways in which a broken system failed them.

You do not owe anyone #WhyIDidntReport.

You are not in charge of curing misogyny, flipping the power imbalance, or reversing the double standards of our culture by revealing the most painful moments of your life.

As senator Kamala Harris stated to Dr. Ford, “you are not on trial.”

#WhyIDidntReport places onus on survivors to explain themselves and defend their actions, or lack thereof. Men in power already know the ways in which the system works against survivors of assault and rape. Do not feel burdened to expose yourself on their behalf. Reliving past trauma in a hashtag is likely triggering, uncomfortable, and exploitive for no real benefit. They who ask, “why didn’t you report?” are ignorant and do not deserve to hear or hold your story.

If you think #WhyIDidntReport will bring you a sense of power or peace, by all means, post, but please do not feel like this is a requirement.

You have done enough already.

Those who ask this question do not actually care about the answer and are not working on ways to make reporting easier. A better hashtag would be #WhyDontYouBelieve or #IdeasForFixingMisogyny. #WhyIAssaulted would be the most enlightening and helpful trend to get started, but don’t hold your breath for that one.

#WhyIDidntReport is similar asking survivors to state #WhatIWasWearing. The reasons someone didn’t report an incident of assault or rape are valid and do not diminish or have relevance to the act committed against them. It’s already been well documented why survivors do not report. Anyone pressing for further explanation is not interested in what is best for survivors and is engaging an age-old cycle of victim blaming.

The amount of emotional labor survivors are currently engaging in is staggering. We are managing our own thoughts and feelings while trying to educate those around us all while not setting fire to everything in sight. It’s tough work and to have to further justify yourself in this manner is overly exhausting, and likely falling on deaf ears. Take care of yourself. #HaveYouPracticedSelfCareToday?

You have done enough.

You are enough. TC mark

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