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Sexual Assault Survivors Don’t Report, Get Over It

How are we still talking about this? With the #MeToo movement about to enter its one year anniversary, after Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, all the discussion after Aziz Ansari and the countless other stories of sexual assault that have dominated the headlines for the last few years, how are we still attacking a woman for not reporting?

Survivors don’t report. It’s that simple. Yes, of course, some do, but a huge majority of survivors never do.

This is Why Survivors Don’t Report:


You blame yourself, and you think about what you could have done to have prevented the attack from happening, and because you think you could have done something, that means you blame yourself. Shame is not the same as embarrassment.

Embarrassment is about your actions and regretting an action, shame is feeling bad about who you are as a person, it’s a feeling intrinsic about yourself. So you don’t think about what happened to you. You do everything you possibly can to never think about it again. You stuff it away until years and decades later you are able to start to look at why you have problems with alcohol, or food issues or relationship problems, etc. and you start to examine your past.

You pretend it didn’t happen.

Nobody wants to be a rape victim, so how do you not be a rape victim? You say it didn’t happen. This is why some people date their rapists or text them the next day saying they had a good time, it’s to try and normalize and dismiss what happened, to try and pretend it was something other than what it was. If you date the person that you had that really awful experience with then you can redefine what it was, except in reality you can’t – but you only learn you can’t years later.

Telling the police is awful.

Reporting to the police and having people take pictures of your genitals is awful. I want to see you walk into a police station and sit down and tell them about how someone forced you into sex and tell them about where they put their hands. Then let them grill you about every sexual encounter you have had. Let them ask you if you lead them on, if you were drinking, if you wanted it but now are just regretting it. Then I want to see you walk into a hospital and spread your legs and let someone take pictures of your genitals.

You don’t know what happened.

You don’t even know what happened to you. It can be so completely confusing and mentally overwhelming to understand what happened to you. Psychologically, it is not easy to sit down and look at an experience you had and process that yes you were raped and you are now a rape victim. Most people will just dismiss it as a bad experience and don’t even realized they were raped until years later. That’s how hard the psyche works to protect you from how completely overwhelming rape or sexual assault is.

You are disassociated.

People who are attacked also often disassociate from the attack, making it even more confusing as to what happened. Your mind disassociates from your body as a way of surviving the experience and the horror of what is happening. People often stay in a disassociated state afterward, numb from the world around them and thus numb from processing what happened and taking action.

You did tell someone.

You did tell someone, and they dismissed what happened to you. You are so vulnerable after you’ve been sexually assaulted that if one person dismisses what happened to you, you often will dismiss it too. Almost every survivor attempts to dismiss what happened to them. You compare your assault to someone else’s and says well it wasn’t as bad as that experience, so mine isn’t that bad. Every experience is bad. But if you can find someone else who had a worse experience than you can pretend yours wasn’t that bad, and you can dismiss it. So if someone else dismisses your experience, there’s a good chance you will too.

You’ve normalized sexual assault.

Once someone has been assaulted often they develop a new sense of the world where predatory and abusive behavior becomes normal. This is why if you’ve been victimized once your chances of being victimized again go up and why some people are victimized over and over again.

Behavior that seems clearly dangerous or abusive to someone who hasn’t been assaulted just seems like normal behavior to someone who has been assaulted.

There are countless more reasons why women and men don’t report assault. Stop attacking people who don’t report sexual assault as if their lack of reporting says something about their character or about the validity of their crimes.

Survivors don’t report, get over it.


Lauren von Bernuth

Lauren is one of the co-founders of Citizen Truth. She graduated with a degree in Political Economy from Tulane University. She spent the following years backpacking around the world and starting a green business in the health and wellness industry. She found her way back to politics and discovered a passion for journalism dedicated to finding the truth.

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  1. Bob Berry September 21, 2018

    Just look at the number or rape test kits that have never been tested. That tells us that rape in the eyes of police is a low level crime. Where the hell are the fathers of america?

    1. Lauren von Bernuth September 21, 2018

      Thank you for replying. It’s such a complex phenomenon and with so many contributing factors. Fathers and men who are told to be men by proving their sexual prowess, women who are told their worth is only through their sexuality, a culture that sells sex everywhere, a culture that doesn’t talk openly about sex, a country that locks so many men up … the list is endless. I’m glad we are talking about it even if it’s a painful process and brings up a lot of fighting.

  2. Pat Ward September 21, 2018

    Sexual assault survivors get assaulted repeatedly when they speak up. The also lose their jobs. Good traditional stay silent. This has to change, rapist and sexual predators have had free reign for 100,000 thousands of years.

  3. Shirley Hawkins September 22, 2018

    They should strick one up they ass,they you get over it.

  4. Don Fisher September 22, 2018

    And despite the bullshit Boys will be Boys crap, most teen boys, even drunk, do NOT try to rape.

  5. Josh Schwien September 27, 2018

    Mostly because there are so many ppl who lie about it as you are seeing on TV and in social media. Maybe tell girls to quit crying wolf so women who actually had these things happen to them will be believed. When you use women for your political agenda it affects other women actually going through it. Don’t a lot of you pretend to care about women’s rights? So why are you angry these women are lying on the news and in court making it that much harder for women actually going through it to come forward
    If all this really happened and wasn’t political why was it taken to the supreme Court and not criminal? Because it is completely political. Quit lying and making it harder for women really going through this

  6. Donna Rae Mathre September 27, 2018


  7. Michael S Gregory Sr. September 27, 2018

    For the same reason for what is going on right now on TV .

    Republicans need to own up and face the truth that they make it worse for women to report these crimes.

    So that the Republican Acenda can continue.

    When will you the Republican party do this to Trump and his 19 plus Sexual Misconduct Accusations has you are doing to this Woman.

  8. Louis Scott September 27, 2018

    Liar liar. They report it if it’s genuine mostly. The ones who don’t find closure other ways. They don’t wait almost 40 years and use it when it’s profitable or beneficial to their friends.

  9. Susan Dow September 27, 2018

    Deep sigh…there are still people who choose not to understand the trauma a victim suffers. Until they do it will stay an under reported crime.

  10. Shirley Hawkins September 27, 2018

    Telling it save you,don’t hold back. Same as a bully ,tell the true.


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