#WhyIDidntReport Is the Most Powerful Reaction to Trump's Comments About Sexual Assault
On Friday morning, President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets attacking Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged that the judge assaulted her at a house party in the '80s when they were both teens. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.
In addition to calling the allegations an attack by the "radical left" on his Supreme Court nominee (whom he referred to as a "fine man"), Trump also criticized Ford for not reporting the alleged attack, which occurred when she was just 15 years old.
"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," he tweeted. "I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"
Of course, there are many reasons that accusers do not report their abuse to authorities. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that shame, a fear of retribution, a fear of not being believed by police as well as the feeling that the assault was not significant enough to report are among the most common reasons for a victim's silence. (We're not entirely surprised to learn that Trump, who himself has been accused of sexual misconduct by 19 women, has not been paying attention to the narratives that have come to dominate the conversation surrounding sexual assault since the #MeToo movement.)
In order to convey this message to Trump, survivors of sexual assault — both men and women — began sharing their own reasons for their silence, posting accounts with the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport on Twitter. Among those sharing their powerful stories are Ashley Judd, one of Harvey Weinstein's accusers, and actress Daryl Hannah.
The accounts are not shocking given the statistics surrounding rapists in the U.S. judicial system. According to RAINN, for every 1,000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will go free.
Perhaps the President will listen before he tweets next time. He probably won't.
If you're a victim of sexual assault and need assistance, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800)799-7233 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800)656-4673.