There are as many reasons why survivors do not report their experiences with sexual assault as there are articles about what those reasons include. President Donald Trump has apparently read none of them and has no clue why a survivor may feel it more risky to come forward than to try to deal with the aftermath of a sexual assault silently.
Chief Art Acevedo of the Houston Police responded to Trump’s cruel and ridiculous assumptions on Twitter and held nothing back in his support for survivors no matter what decision they make in whether or not to report.
Since only six out of every 1,000 rape reports end in jail time, it can often seem pointless to report an assault to the police. In the case of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, whose assault was an attempted rape and not a completed on, there would have been no DNA evidence, no witnesses other than her attacker and the friend who turned up music to cover her screams. While she could have gone to others at the party to ask for help in calling the police, that most often leads (and far more often in 1983) to victim-blaming, disbelief, and harassment in neighborhoods, schools, and communities when the attacker is more well-known and liked.
There is no better evidence of why so many victims do not come forward than the response to Dr. Ford’s coming forward now. She is now in hiding with her children thanks to death threats and harassment and there’s an endless smearing of her name on social media that she and her children will be forced to live with throughout their lives.
Even by members of Congress, Ford has been called “mixed-up,” accused of working as some kind of Democratic operative, and discounted as a liar and an opportunist. Yet, the conversations about why survivors don’t come forward continue.
Chuck Grassley Says the Real Victim of the Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Allegations Is … Chuck Grassley https://t.co/dBgaPTCgkW
— Liberal Resistance (@LiberalResist) September 21, 2018
Psychology Today writes that:
‘Instead of focusing so much energy on trying to figure out why victims don’t report, it would be far more productive to ask, “Why do we allow men to continue to sexually harass and assault women?” Perhaps even more important, we need to stop asking why victims wait to report and instead focus on how we can better support victims in their quest for justice and healing.’
Thanks to better training and more evolved police officers like Chief Art Acevedo, these historic wrongs against sexual assault victims may finally be righted. How long it will take the right to catch up, however, is anyone’s guess.