It Doesn't Matter Why I Didn't Report

In lieu of recent events, a new hashtag has trended – #WhyIDidntReport. As a woman that has been raped and did not report it, this hashtag hit me like a punch to the gut. As the stories came pouring in and the comments of those doubting the stories followed, I felt compelled to share my story and why I did not report.

 

I was 17, I was scared and I did not want to admit to what just happened. I felt stupid for thinking that meeting a guy off of social media was a good idea. I felt stupid for not fighting harder. I felt stupid. I felt exposed. I felt gross. I did not want to feel anymore but I felt stupid.

 

I would not admit to myself what happened for another two years after I started my freshman year of college. I was starting to feel depressed, and I started having nightmares. I started having nightmares of that night. I stayed up later and woke up earlier. The nightmares started happening throughout my day. Crap. I felt stupid.

 

It got to the point that I could not avoid it any longer. In a hysterical fit I called my mom. I had to tell someone so I told my best friend. I told her everything that happened. I tried to explain why I kept it to myself all this time. I tried to explain the fear I had of admitting to the events. I tried to explain my fear of reporting it. I tried to explain the guilt I felt for letting it happen. I felt stupid.

 

I knew at 17 that reporting this event would lead to giving statements and sitting in the courtroom multiple times. I knew at 17 that I would have to relive my assault in the public eye more than I would care to do. I knew at 17 that I would not be able to withstand the consequences of reporting. I felt stupid.

 

I would like to say that I no longer blame myself. I would like to say that I no longer feel that I let this happen to me. I would like to say that I have healed. I would like to say that I no longer feel stupid. But that would not be true – not completely.

 

I will not share the details of that night. I will not share the details of my rapist. I will not share the fear that I still carry with me every day. I will not share the details of my bad days. The details are not important in this case. The details are rarely important anymore. The details, however, are something that I will remember for the rest of my life. Sometimes, they make me feel stupid.

 

The testimony from Dr. Ford and the stories shared from so many other victims have made me feel a little less alone. They have made me feel the need to be vocal through their bravery. They have made me feel the need to be vocal years after the fact; years that do not take away the sting or take away the fact that it happened.

 

You may doubt their stories. You may doubt my story. We, however, know the truth.