President Donald Trump’s recent criticism of Christine Blasey Ford’s failure to report an alleged 1980s sexual assault against his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, has inspired a powerful social campaign from survivors of assault.
The #WhyIDidntReport hashtag sprung up in response to the president’s questioning Ford’s failure to report the incident decades earlier.
“I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”
“The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW,” he added. “Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?”
The radical left lawyers want the FBI to get involved NOW. Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
April White, the activist behind #OscarsSoWhite, helped advance the hashtag on Twitter, but “this isn’t about me,” she said in response to a tweet from the Hollywood Reporter. “Focus on the survivors, not the platform that amplified their stories.”
Anyone who says assault didn't happen if it was not reported should take the time to read #WhyIDidntReport tweets to learn why women keep quiet about rape, assault and abuse.— Shakira Sison (@shakirasison) September 21, 2018
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, for every 1,000 rapes reported, just six perpetrators are incarcerated. As a result, many survivors of sexual assault don’t believe their accusations will be taken seriously — or believed at all.
Here’s why many survivors said they didn’t report their assaults:
I was humiliated. I knew everyone would find out. I was afraid it would ruin my professional reputation before I had even started. I was afraid they would not believe me and let him hold my grade back. I was afraid they would not let me graduate from law school. #WhyIDidntReport— Amee KavaNOPE Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) September 21, 2018
He was the nephew of my father’s girlfriend at the time & was older & stronger than me. It started when I was 7 & I thought he’d hurt me more & that nobody would believe me. It took 4 years to break the silence. He was abusing other kids too, I later found out. #WhyIDidntReport— deray (@deray) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport. The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon. They said “Oh, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant.” So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man.— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) September 21, 2018
I was 17. Raped by a friend. I was confused. In denial. Afraid. His parents were richer & better connected than my parents. He was a "good" student. Ppl liked him. The only friend I told--responded w: "He wld never do that." I didn't think anyone would help me. #WhyIDidntReport https://t.co/YbCuIMg07M— Abigail Hauslohner (@ahauslohner) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport:— Sophie Ellman-Golan (@EgSophie) September 21, 2018
Because there were no avenues for holding him accountable that didn’t involve the police.
Because I told myself it wasn’t “bad enough.”
Because it was gutting to admit — even to myself — that I was assaulted.
#WhyIDidntReport I didn’t understand consent. I was ashamed and didn’t want to “have a reputation.” Above all, I didn’t want to tarnish HIS reputation. So much so, that when a friend tried to talk to a teacher for me, I denied it.— muh-liss-uh 🌹 (@typorati) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) September 21, 2018
Because I was scared
Because I was ashamed
Because I did not want to lose my job
Because I am traumatized
Because nobody will believe me
Because it wasn’t a big deal
Because I deserved it
Because I get anxiety
Because somebody may harm me again
The only time I ever went to the police was after a man tried to pull me into his car when I was 19. The beat cops were annoyed that I didn't know the make of the vehicle, or if it had two doors or four. #WhyIDidntReport— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) September 21, 2018
I was four, and he said he’d kill me. #WhyIDidntReport— David Leavitt (@David_Leavitt) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport I reported to college officials who urged me to go to the police. The man who raped me and those who almost did, stalked me on campus and threatened to kill me if I went further. I believed them— Karen Schindler (@schindlerk15) September 21, 2018
Others shared why even reporting their assaults failed them.
As I’m seeing #WhyIDidntReport in numerous tweets this morning, I have to say this... I reported it and it still didn’t matter. My rapist walks free as his friends covered for him. You can’t attack a women for not reporting something. Our system victimizes us again and again.— Alana Evans (@alanaevansxxx) September 21, 2018
I reported it immediately. My vice-principal asked what I did to provoke it. I didn't tell my mom until 35 years later. #WhyIDidntReport— Deneen (@DeneeneeneD) September 21, 2018
I did, it didn’t matter, I was dismissed, disparaged, & I still get blamed #WhyIDidntReport— Daryl Hannah (@dhlovelife) September 21, 2018
I did report. I had police file within hours, composite drawings, and photos of the scars on my face and body.— I Am Canadian (@CdnShoeSmuggler) September 21, 2018
Was then told He had the right to know who his accuser was and it was his word against mine.
He stalked me for over a year until I moved cities.