Thousands of people across the globe have taken to Twitter to share the heartbreaking reasons—from embarrassment to shame to fear for their lives—they didn't report their sexual assault. The hashtag #WhyIDidntReport was at the top of the trending list on the platform on Friday, and it came on the heels of Christine Blasey Ford's allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when the two were teenagers in the 1980s.
Coming forward with a can be a major challenge, and it doesn't help that many people believe that if a woman didn't report her assault right after it happened, then it may not have actually happened. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano took part in the movement by writing a moving first-person essay for Vox explaining why it took her 30 years to tell anyone at all about her assault. "I never filed a police report. I never told officials. I never tried to find justice for my pain because justice was never an option," she wrote.
Here's to a hashtag that's trying to change that mindset, and to those who have posted about their experiences. We've gathered some of the most powerful tweets from the movement below.
#WhyIDidntReport. The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon. They said “Oh, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant.” So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man.
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) September 21, 2018
I was disgusted, embarrassed. I didn't want to make it awkward for my family (he worked in our apartment building.) I wanted to forget. #WhyIDidntReport
— Laura Manos-Hey (@LauraManos) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport my sexual assault — Actually, I did. I was 18 or 19, and reported it to a nurse. She told me, “You must be confused.” Thinking back, that’s because she was trained to revere male medical practitioners, and the assaulter was a dentist.
— Ann Snyder (@lifeinthePNW) September 21, 2018
I was 13 and I was terrified. He was an adult. While he raped me held me face down and I couldn’t breathe. He told me repeatedly how easy it would be to kill me. I knew it to be true. #WhyIDidntReport
— Karen Maurer (@Kraemau) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport bc I was scared I would lose all my friends, bc I was scared I would die, bc I didn't know how, bc I didn't really know I could, bc no one ever taught me what sexual assault was so when it happened to me I didn't even know. and bc I knew nothing would happen.
— Mitra Jouhari (@tweetrajouhari) September 21, 2018
Because he was my husband and I was told it couldn’t be rape if you’re married. When i mentioned it to a friend they rolled their eyes and said “that’s just what husbands do. It shows he wants you”. #WhyIDidntReport
— 🦄🇺🇸 (@EleshN0rn) September 21, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport Fear of losing my job since my attacker was in upper management. I needed that job to be able to escape an abusive ex. I wasn’t as close to my family at the time and didn’t think I could turn to them for help. And fear that no one would believe me.
— Veruka Salt (@GiraffeRoja) September 21, 2018
Because when I was ready to, in my 15 year old mind, I thought that that if I said something, I’d hear “That was years ago – Why didn’t you say anything then?” After mustering the strength to discuss it for the first time, I was right. #WhyIDidntReport
— Raye. (@xhyfRAYEx) September 21, 2018
Because rape culture victim blames. I knew questions involving my clothes, my alcohol intake and my promiscuity would be ready and waiting. And I couldn’t bear that. It was easier to live in shame and blame myself than have other people do it for me. #WhyIDidntReport
— s-👁 🦆 (@saiberbully_) September 21, 2018