If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
As more and more women come forward, more and more details and evidence become clear, the conversation has been less about the pervasiveness of this kind of behavior and its acceptability in a patriarchal culture that accepts misogyny as the norm and more about why these women waited so long, why they didn’t say “no” and what degree of harassment is considered just “guys being guys” or “locker room talk” versus legitimate sexual assault.
Some reasons why people who are assaulted don’t tell — because apparently people don’t know.
1. People who are in the middle of being violated often go into fight/flight/freeze mode.
Many times you actually dissociate and don’t remember the details of the incident at all or they are fuzzy and you can’t give accurate detailed testimony.
Most of us feel deep shame about it. We question what we did wrong. Why didn’t we stop it. We must have deserved it. So we pack that shame so far away and under so much heavy armor that we don’t have to feel it because it’s overwhelming.
3. We are afraid nobody will believe us.
Especially if it’s a relative, someone well known or someone powerful. The odds are we will be disbelieved and that’s humiliating.
4. The pain of having to retell the experience is excruciating.
It was bad enough to experience it once, why would I want to put myself through it over and over again?
If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.