Trigger Warning for rape and sexual abuse
Social media can be powerful. Yesterday, a Twitter trending topic reminded me of that. On #IDidNotReport, people explain why they didn’t report rape or sexual abuse. The results are a strong reminder that we still live in a rape culture.
I encourage you all to check out this trend. Here are a few tweets:
#ididnotreport because she was female, smaller than me, & we were at a club. The fact was I felt powerless & she didn’t accept ”no”.
#ididnotreport because I was locked up and the prison guards wouldn’t have believed me.
#ididnotreport because I was ~4 years old and only recently was able to accept it.
#ididnotreport because where the fuck can a trans woman report sexual assault and be taken seriously?
#ididnotreport because who believes teenage blackgirls anyway
#ididnotreport because I had been made to believe doctors only did what was medically necessary and in their patient’s best interests.
#ididnotreport because my mom also warned of the dangers of discussing personal business with strangers (like counselors)
#ididnotreport because he was a military coworker and I was terrified of consequences under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
#ididnotreport bc I believed the lie that it was my fault for not defending myself better. Even though I was a child.
I shared a few of my own reasons for not reporting as well. Here are a few–some that I’ve already shared on Twitter, and others that I haven’t.
#ididnotreport because church taught me that if you make out with someone or show too much skin, you deserve what you get.
#ididnotreport because my school’s abstinence program tried to scare kids into abstinence by comparing rape & sex. didnt know the difference
#ididnotreport because I would have been kicked out of my Baptist high school for my sexual history with my rapist.
#ididnotreport because I thought rape could only come from strangers, not from someone you loved.
#ididnotreport because he told me that because I was sexually abused as a child, I was damaged goods anyway.
#ididnotreport because I thought he would kill me.
#ididnotreport because I was friends with his family. I didn’t want them to hate me.
Another Twitter trend, #IDidReport, started up, confirming the fears of those of us who did not report.
#ididreport the guy who groped me in high school to the vice principal. VP said he “didn’t have time to deal with this”.
#ididreport when assaulted at knife point in front of our boys Cops wouldn’t arrest him as we were (divorcing/separated for months)”married”
#ididreport and the most grief that came my way, came from other women.
#ididreport and was treated like the criminal. I lost friends and ended up deep in depression. I wished #ididnotreport. No charges laid :(
I can’t pretend I was surprised by any of these tweets. I’ve been a feminist long enough to know that rape culture exists and is powerful. But I also know that many are either blissfully unaware that this kind of crap goes on in the world or have experienced this crap and think they are alone.
That people are sharing their stories on a forum as public as Twitter is amazing, and I believe has the potential to open some eyes and change some minds and maybe even begin the process of dismantling the rape culture that we live in.
These short 140 character stories are tragic, disheartening, and painful to read. But they are important. To those who have shared them, thank you. Thank you for your courage and strength. I pray for you to find healing.
You are not alone.
We believe you.