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The Mass Media

The Truth Behind #WhyIDidn’tReport

With the intensity that has developed surrounding the Kavanaugh nomination and Dr. Ford’s allegations, people have not held back their opinions and thoughts. Our own president has been very vocal in the process, especially on social media. Recently he sparked outrage with a specific tweet saying, “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!”
This caused many to voice their opinions about the president’s statement, in particular actress Alyssa Milano who tweeted back, “Hey, @realDonaldTrump, Listen the f–k up. I was sexually assaulted twice. Once when I was a teenager. I never filed a police report and it took me 30 years to tell my parents.” With Milano’s open confession, the movement of #WhyIDidn’tReport spread throughout the internet. Many celebrities joined in to share their stories along with the hashtag tweeted by Sarah Hyland, “#whyididntreport. He was a friend. It was New Year’s Eve my senior year of high school. Everyone was drunk. He broke in to the bathroom I was in. I hoped it was a dream but my ripped tights in the morning proved otherwise. I thought no one would believe me. I didn’t want to be called dramatic. After all I didn’t say no. Shock can do that to a person.” Lili Reinhart followed in sharing her story and responded to her doubters explaining why she didn’t report, tweeting, “Because I didn’t want to lose my job or make people think I was a drama queen.”
I personally believe that this movement is inspiring. As scary as it may seem, people not reporting their sexual assault is a lot more common than you might believe. People who are sexually assaulted may experience embarrassment from the event or fear that they will be judged. Sometimes sexual assault victims know their assaulter personally and are shocked by the event or blackmailed to not speak. Some people believe that they cannot report because no one will believe them, just as how Hyland and Reinhart expressed, as they didn’t want to be seen as “dramatic.” The list goes on as there are many different reasons why someone may not report, and I believe it is not our position to judge whatever the reason may be.
In my opinion, it must be said that rape and sexual assault is a touchy subject in our society. It is a hushed topic that we try to avoid, either purposefully or without even realizing it. However, it is a very real phenomenon that we need to speak about as a society. It has happened many times before and continues to be a serious issue now. We need to encourage others to speak up about their story and let them known that they are safe from ridicule, and that being sexual assaulted is not their fault. I encourage listening if anyone ever opens up to you about being sexually assaulted. Give them comfort in your presence and attention.
If you are someone who has been sexually assaulted, please try to speak to a mentor, parent, or friend. If you are uncomfortable with this, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. It is a safe and confidential hotline, as only the first six digits of the phone number are used to route the call, and your complete phone number is never stored in their system. On this line, you will be able to speak with a trained staff who will listen to you and if needed, be able to suggest local health facilities that are trained in assisting sexual assault survivors.

About the Contributor
Mikayla Mackay, Arts & Lifestyle Editor