Trigger warning: Sexual Assault
It’s been a difficult few weeks for women in general, but especially for those who are triggered by mentions of sexual assault. It’s a difficult topic because talking about it alone can be damaging. Not talking about it, however, may make things even worse.
As women who may be struggling with recovery, it’s important that we connect on these issues, and reassure each other that we’re not alone.
Under-reported sexual assault is an issue that disproportionately affects all of us. The recent rash of #WhyIDidntReport has special meaning for a number of us.
We asked our regular contributors why they didn’t report. Each has her own story.
I didn’t report because I was under the influence every time and I knew that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, despite photo evidence (whole other ball of shame, right there). Everyone I worked with saw the photos. Every one of them laughed at me, not one person thought it was wrong. That showed me that reporting was useless. ~ Rachel Trimble
I didn’t report because I was prostituting to support my drug habit, and I knew that I would not be taken seriously or heard. There were times I couldn’t have gone to the police even if I wanted to. I had open court cases, and I would have been punished for crimes, instead of being able to report the ones that were committed against me ~ Nicole St. Pierre
I didn’t report because I was fifteen and had snuck out of my house to go to my friend’s house. We were drinking and I was in and out of blackout. I tried to go to sleep on the floor but the brother of the girl whose house I was at forced himself on me in a room full of drunk teenagers. I was screaming no on the inside, but I think I may have been too drunk to actually verbalize it. I can remember the wood panel walls and being horrified hoping someone would stop him. The next morning I was incredibly hung over and my girlfriends were mad at me for sleeping with him. I told them I hadn’t wanted to and they didn’t believe me. At the time I thought it was my fault. Shortly after I began having emotional issues and cutting and I used alcohol and promiscuity to cope. ~ Hilary Dumas
I didn’t report because I had been drinking and was told no one would believe me. I was embarrassed that I had put myself in the position to be assaulted, and I blamed and shamed myself for being so vulnerable. ~ Julie Maida
We want you to know that this supportive community believes you and honors your experiences and your pain. We understand the difficulties in dealing with trauma, and we don’t shame or blame you for the things you’ve done or said—or not done or said—to make peace with what you have been through.
We all have the right to feel safe. There is never justification for sexual assault of any kind — EVER.
If you have experienced an assault and need someone to talk to, please use the resources below or reach out. We’ll happily connect you to appropriate supports and hold space for you while you heal.
You deserve to heal.