The 23 Heartbreaking Reasons Women Don't Tell Anyone They've Been Raped

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And what perpetrators do to keep sexual assault victims silent.

It might not make sense to you.

It may even seem to be slightly suspicious when a rape victim waits — sometimes years after the crime happened — to report that they were abused to law enforcement.

Sometimes when the report is made, there are circumstances surrounding their claim that appear shady.

You might think that if you were a victim of a rape crime, the last thing you would do is remain silent.

And maybe you're right. 

Or maybe you just don't know what it's like. 

The pattern seems to be common. A sexual assault victim accuses a high-profile individual sometimes years later.

Soon after that initial accusation, more victims come forward with similar stories assault by the same person.

You might why do victims remain silent — sometimes for years, and what is it about their relationship that triggers silence?

The relationship between a sexual predator and an assault victim often begins with a form of misled trust that is later used to silence and shame the victim.

The deeper the misled trust runs between the sexual predator and the victim, the harder it is for the victim to report a sex crime. 

 

How it happens:

A perpetrator has a keen sense and awareness of the rules surrounding trust.

Especially how it can be used to an unfair advantage when a person is vulnerable.

It's at that moment of vulnerability that the predator often comes to the rescue with emotional support, a shoulder to lean on, or an ear to hear with confidence. 

They use that point in their relationship to groom their future victim.

With encouraged co-dependence, they foster the public appearance of trust.

They make others view their role in the victim's life as necessary. They make it clear to others that they have improved their future victim's life.

So, how can someone who has been a help be the same person that could do such harm?

It's that question that victims, after being assaulted ask themselves. And why they often stay silent after rape or sexual assault.

It's part of the web of trust and it's breach that creates a snare for silence.

This especially true with women who were abused as children by a family member, babysitter, neighbor, or a person of authority.

If the perpetrator is a trusted adult with a respected role in the child's life as a physician, as with Larry Nassar, former Olympic Gymnastic doctor who is accused of molesting 23+ women, many of them minors —  the child fears challenging that authority.

And grown women aren't immune to the impact the grooming of misled trust has on them, either.

They doubt their own discernment because they wonder why their instincts were so flawed, and sometimes because of the nature of their relationship with the one who assaulted them, they doubt that a crime even took place.

For many male victims of sexual violence, it can take them decades to tell even one person that they were abused, too.

So regardless of gender, whenever we encounter a survivor's story in the news or in person, it's important to understand why so many people don't speak up right away. 

 

Here are 23 real-life reasons why reasons why survivors of sexual violence and abuse don't report sexual assault right away:

1. I was date raped. I said, no, but he did it anyway. He was my boyfriend.

2. I never reported my rape because it's so common. Several of my friends have been raped, too. So, I thought it's better to say nothing at all.

3. He told me he would tell my parents I was no longer a virgin. He was my neighbor.

4. I was told that I asked for it, so I didn't want to get into trouble.

5. I lost faith in the system.

6. I was afraid to tell my mother that her boyfriend molested me. 

7. I came to accept that the system is broken, and victims stay victims. 

8. I was afraid people would minimize what happened.

9. I didn't want to be made fun of.

10. If I told, my life would only get worse. 

11. I'd be blamed.

12. I didn't want things to get worse. 

13. He was my husband, so I was told it couldn't be rape.

14. I was grateful to survive.

15. My male cousins took turns molesting, and they said I was a little whore.

16. I was in shock. I just wanted to forget it had ever happened. 

17. He said he would post things about me on the internet if I said something, and then everyone would see what a liar I was.

18. I was told that if I said something, no one would believe me, and the police would take us all away.

19. I was afraid that if anyone knew what happened, no one would want me.  

20. I didn't want anyone to think I was used goods.

21. I was afraid there wasn't enough proof.

22. I didn't know who to trust so that I could tell.

23. I didn't want anyone else to get hurt.

 

If you are a survivor of sexual violence, rape, or abuse please know that hope and healing are possible. For support, reach out to RAINN, 1in6.org, Trevor Project or other services for survivors.

 

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