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Why #WhyIDidn'tReport is taking over Twitter
Trigger warning: This article discusses sexual assault and rape.
"Because I didn’t want to lose my job or make people think I was a drama queen.
That's a tweet from Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart. She's one of the thousands of people who have bravely shared their stories of sexual assault, harassment and abuse on Twitter this week. What sparked this sudden outpouring of honesty? All of these people are speaking up following the backlash towards Dr. Christine Blasey Ford from President Trump.
Last week, Dr. Ford came forward with allegations of an attempted rape by Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh at a house party in the early '80s. In response to Ford's allegations, President Trump tweeted the following:
"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!"
Deborah Ramirez, a former classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale University, also claims that he exposed himself to her during a drinking game in their freshman year of college. And just yesterday, a third accuser came forward.
Because these events allegedly happened in the '80s, they've sparked a dialogue as to why victims of assault, abuse or harassment don't always report the things that have happened to them—and that's when the #WhyIDidntReport hashtag started.
Because I didn’t want to lose my job or make people think I was a drama queen. #WhyIDidntReport— Lili Reinhart (@lilireinhart) September 21, 2018
I liked him. And we were both drinking. And I was young. And I thought no one would believe the hot boy assaulted the shy, chubby girl. #WhyIDidntReport— Holly Black (@hollyrie81) September 26, 2018
Because I was in college, drunk at a party and I thought everyone would say it was my own fault. I told him NO, that should have been enough. #WhyIDidntReport— Aimee B (@Salto_Coach) September 25, 2018
Because the police told me, "Why don't you wait a few more days and then decide if you want to ruin this man's life" #whyIdidntreport— Grace (@GraceBower1) September 26, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport. The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon. They said “Oh, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant.” So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man.— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) September 21, 2018
Why is all of this important?
Dr. Ford will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and Kavanaugh today, Thursday, Sept. 27. Her testimony could prove to be eerily similar to the confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by law professor Anita F. Hill. Though the series of hearings sparked nationwide outrage, Thomas was confirmed and still serves on the Supreme Court to this day.
But that was nearly 30 years ago. In today's #MeToo era, Dr. Ford's testimony could prove to be a fatal blow to Kavanaugh's chance of securing a spot on the Supreme Court, a frustration to President Trump (who nominated him) and a success for all who bring their allegations of abuse forward, regardless of the timeframe.