The Importance of Reporting Sexual Assault Immediately
Over the past few weeks, Americans have witnessed a surge of sexual assault allegations against prominent men in politics and Hollywood. Men like Harvey Weinsten, Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey, and others have faced accusations of rape, groping, unwanted sexual contact, and more. While sexual assault is a horrific deed which deserves serious attention and investigations, waiting decades to report accounts is highly problematic.
The Pitfalls of Waiting Decades To Reports Sexual Assault
The immediate reporting of sexual assault is important for several reasons. First and foremost, the sooner the crime is revealed, the easier it is to take action. If someone is raped, or otherwise assaulted, reporting the crime immediately allowed law enforcement officers to investigate and collect evidence. Rape kits, the viewing of security footage, collection of clothing, and other forms of evidence are paramount when analyzing claims of sexual misconduct. The aforementioned things make it easier for police officers to do their job. If the victim knows his or her assailant, they can identify them and allow law enforcement to act from that point forward.
When a predator commits sexual crimes and the proper authorities are not alerted, it emboldens the predator to continue their behavior. Rarely will a sexual predator stop after one, two, or even ten victims. The more they get away with it, the more their behavior escalates. How many women could have been saved from Harvey Weinstein’s gross predation if one of his earlier victims had come out and reported his behavior immediately?
Unfortunately, the more time that passes after sexual assault, the less credible accusations become in the eyes of many people. For instance, women who accused Republican Roy Moore of sexual misconduct were not believed. Countless critics questioned why his accusers waited decades to come forth. Others dismissed the allegations as politically motivated weapons employed to sabotage Moore’s campaign.
Truthfully, the only people who know whether or not Moore assaulted his accusers are Moore and his accusers. However, had these women reported the alleged crimes immediately, the proper action and investigations could have followed. If Roy Moore really did force himself on underage teenage girls, he absolutely deserves to be brought to justice. However, bringing sexual abusers to justice is much easier to do immediately after their crimes rather than decades later.
Reasons Why Victims of Sexual Assault May Wait to Come Forward
In a perfect world, victims of sexual assault would immediately come forward. However, there are some reasons that could discourage them from doing so. If the abuser is popular, powerful, or rich, the victim may feel as though they will not be believed. Abusers may also threaten to hurt their victims or loved ones of the victims. All of these are very real possibilities and unfortunately, sexual assault has not always been viewed as a serious offense.
Despite the challenges that often accompany the reporting of sexual assault, it is still critical for victims to do so. It is the most likely possibility they have of getting justice for what was wrongly done to them. Moreover, it sends a message to the abuser that they cannot bully their victims or buy their silence.
A Encouraging Word For Going Forward
Sadly, the accusations against prominent public figures will not halt sexual assault. There will always be sick predators who believe they are entitled to other people’s bodies. There will always be bad people who seek to harm others. These predators will often employ the aforesaid tactics of bullying, threats, and worse to intimidate their victims into silence. Giving into these scare tactics only allows predators to win.
Victims deserve to be heard. Sexual predators deserve to be held accountable for their crimes. However, as difficult as this may be, the only way to bring sexual predators to justice and halt repeat occurrences is for victims to speak out immediately. They owe it to themselves and to others who may be assaulted.