#WhyIDidntReport

On Friday afternoon, the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport was the top national trend on Twitter, in response to President Trump’s tweets attacking Christine Blasey Ford.

The hashtag began after President Trump broke his five-day silence about Dr. Ford — who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a high school party in 1982 — suggesting that if the assault actually happened, there should be police records from the incident:

Trump’s tweet erroneously assumes that all women who experience sexual assault immediately report the assault to law enforcement. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) posted an infographic using data from the National Sexual Assault Hotline showing that most sexual assaults actually go unreported — and those that do rarely result in any accountability for perpetrators.

BBC correspondent Megha Mohan tweeted the infographic, reminding readers that these statistics are just for sexual assaults in the U.S., as most countries don’t keep similar records.

Multiple women used the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport to relive their trauma for the whole world on social media in an effort to get others to understand why so many sexual assault survivors don’t tell anyone about what happened to them.

Kristina Smith-Puerto tweeted an experience that was similar to the experience Dr. Blasey Ford shared with The Washington Post. Like Ford, Smith-Puerto was in high school when she was pinned down and assaulted by a boy at a party where alcohol was involved. Smith-Puerto said the only reason she wasn’t raped was because her friend walked into the room.

Community organizer Jessica Raven tweeted that she repeatedly showered after she was assaulted, only to be told that she had washed away the evidence, preventing her assailant from being held accountable.

Actress Ashley Judd tweeted that she was assaulted for the first time when she was just seven years old, but nobody believed her when she told an adult. Then, after she was raped as a teenager, adults simply shamed her. New York Times writer Kate Conger tweeted a screenshot of two emails — one that she sent after she was assaulted in 2011, and an email she finally received following up with her seven years after the fact. Twitter user @JaceLGalloway — who was a police dispatcher — didn’t even tell her cop friends about her assault.

Other women who tweeted their experiences on the #WhyIDidntReport hashtag simply said they didn’t tell anyone because they were either too young and nobody would believe them, or because the assailant was a respected family member or member of the community, or because the assailant threatened their life. When they did report the assault, they often saw their attacker walk away scot-free.

You can read more #WhyIDidntReport stories by clicking here.

 

Nick Jewell is a freelance political writer, and a proud resident of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Email him at nickjewell@yahoo.com. 

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