Anonymous Story: Why I Didn’t Report (4)


After a few weeks, I buried what happened. As I tend to do with traumatic experiences. I put it deep inside my brain where it couldn’t hurt me anymore. About two months later, I got back together with the love of my life, and while I was a little hesitant to have sex again after what happened, he was completely understanding and loving and made everything better again. And I’ve barely thought of what happened since then. I’ve stayed in my love bubble, even through the #MeToo news cycle, I kept the memories buried. Until now. Now I can’t get rid of them. Now that Dr. Ford is telling her story – her story that haunted her for her whole life, and she was even able to escape. Hearing her story made mine feel more real. It feels like I’m processing what happened for the very first time, whereas before it was almost like an out of body experience.

But I’m still not reporting. I’m finally telling my story, albeit anonymously, but I have still have so much farther to go. I probably won’t ever report, for a lot of reasons. I’m still ashamed of whatever I did that night that led me to that experience – I do place some of the blame on myself, even though I also believe that it was in no way my fault. I wish I had done some things differently. And I know that reporting with that story would likely yield no results, and only cause me more pain. I also don’t want my family to know. They think of me in a certain way – a well-behaved, innocent girl – not someone who gets drunk and invites strange men over. That’s the problem these days. That being sexually assaulted can hurt the woman’s reputation as much as, if not more than, the man’s.

That accusing someone of assaulting you means opening yourself up to scrutiny and judgment. It’s like blaming a murder victim for getting killed, but it happens all of the time with sexual assault. And it’s why I didn’t report, and likely will not ever report. And it’s why most survivors don’t report. This is a problem that can be solved. We have the opportunity to solve it right now, at the national level. This is America’s chance to show women that reporting sexual assault will lead to consequences for the assailant. But if that does not happen, then I am truly fearful for women in our country. And if that does not happen, our country should be afraid of women. Because we are finding our voice, and we will only get louder. Louder and louder until you can’t hear anything else. And we’ll prevail. One way or another, women will get the power in this country, and if you are a man who has ever assaulted a woman in any way, you should be shaking in your boots.

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