Last week, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when the two of them were in high school.
Studies show that only 1 in 3 sexual assaults are reported and that commonly, victims delay reporting for a variety of factors connected to psychological and neurobiological reactions to their trauma. In interviews with survivors, the following are regularly reported reasons for which they were hesitant.
Once speaking out, victims routinely face scrutiny and encounter barriers.
“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. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!” – Donald Trump tweeting in response to Ford’s allegations.
Victims often fear retaliation.
“I’ll listen to the lady, but we’re going to bring this to a close,”- Senator Lindsay Graham in an interview about Ford’s willingness to testify in front of the Senate Committee.
Victims may struggle to remember precise details or experience negative feelings when they do so.
“I think this woman, whoever she is, is mixed up,”- Senator Orin Hatch in speaking about Professor Ford.
They often feel beholden to ingrained gender inequality and are fearful of reprisal from a culture dominated by boy’s club loyalty.
“I mean, I can’t imagine the horror of being accused of something like this,”- Senator Bob Corker speaking in solidarity with Judge Kavanaugh.
Many women come to believe their experience is not important enough to report.
“We got a little hiccup here with the Kavanaugh nomination, we’ll get through this and we’ll get off to the races,” Senator Dean Heller referring to Ford’s allegations. - Maureen Post
We believe women. And we recognize that 27 years after Anita Hill, the context of today looks all too much the same.
We urge you to pick up your phone and call your senators. 202-224-3121
Photo Credit : Wikimedia Commons