#WhyIDidntReport: Rape survivors band together to tell their story

By Jenna Iacurci, Parent Herald April 15, 04:47 pm

#WhyIDidntReport is the latest hashtag to provide rape victims a platform to share their story and, in this case, why they chose not to report the abuse.

Every year about 237,868 people are victims of sexual assault, with a new incident every two minutes in the United States, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).

Some of these victims shared the reasons for keeping silent about their attacks.

"#WhyIDidntReport I didn't want my parents to know. I didn't want anyone to know. I thought they'd think less of me," one Twitter user wrote.

Another explained: "#WhyIDidntReport I thought I'd be called a liar and that nobody would believe me because it was a relative. I was only 10 years old."

About 44 percent of victims are under the age of 18, RAINN states.

But some victims who did report their rape weren't taken seriously.

"#WhyIDidntReport I did, and was told by the dean that what happened wasn't serious enough to meet Harvard's standards for sexual misconduct," another girl wrote.

These are not the only rape confessions that have gone viral on Twitter recently. This March, someone posed a question asking what victims were wearing when they were assaulted, and the website exploded with answers.

"Within hours, a long list of outfits-ranging from sweatshirts to pajamas to bathing suits-accompanied by stories of rape and assault filled Twitter feeds," Time magazine wrote.

The question was meant to discredit the oft-repeated notion that women are to blame for their own rape if what they wear is revealing or promiscuous - a phenomenon referred to as "victim-blaming."

Christine Fox started the cyber-debate when she got into an argument with a male Twitter user who said as much.

"I was trying to make him understand that it absolutely does not make a difference, and that the responsibility does not lie on women," she told The Root.

The swarm of people openly admitting to being raped does not surprise Scott Berkowitz, RAINN's president.

"Having this whole community of other people who have been through something similar can be really empowering for people," he told Time. "I think there's safety in numbers.

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