The Victim Impact Statements At Danny Masterson's Sentencing Emphasize Why Some Survivors Are Reluctant To Speak Out

Their voices were heard that day.

silhouette of 3 woman victims, survivors rudchenko, Chris_Tefme, As Novo, portishead1 | Canva

It’s estimated that 465,483 rapes occur every single year in the United States. Out of those nearly half a million rapes, only 3,258 rapists are convicted. That’s 0.70%, according to statistics provided by The Hive Law.

Aside from the improbability that rape will end in conviction, sexual assault survivors of all genders are forced to go through a system that doesn’t fight for or care about them. They are criticized, intimidated, mocked, or treated as if they don’t matter. Their voices are often silenced. As a result, they often don’t speak out at all to save themselves from the ordeal they may face should they decide to tell someone.


In the Los Angeles Superior Court on September 7, 2023, Honorable Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo made sure that Danny Masterson’s rape victims’ voices were heard through their impact statements after the defendant was found guilty of two of three counts of rape and sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.

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The victims’ impact statements in the Danny Masterson trial highlight how hard it is for survivors to speak out.

The three victims who made statements were Jen B., Niesha Trout and Chrissie Carnell Bixler, and their voices were heard once Masterson’s sentence was doled out. With the help of Leah Remini, an actress outspoken in exposing the truth about the Church of Scientology, their statements were posted online for the world to read.


The survivors' statements highlighted the tribulations they went through from the moment the crime was committed to the sentencing that day. They spoke about the hardships they suffered at the Church of Scientology’s hands, how Masterson was defended and his acts swept under the rug, how they were intimidated and silenced into keeping quiet about the entire situation, and about how the Church of Scientology’s policy to never involve the authorities convinced them to endure.

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“Per Scientology policy, if they ever went to law enforcement,” Remini states, “they would be committing a Scientology high crime and, as a result, would have their life as they knew it destroyed.”


The Church holds a lot of sway in the lives of the people involved with their group, and so the survivors were “indoctrinated” into believing that handling it within the Church would be better than having their lives ruined.

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There are many reasons why a sexual assault survivor may not speak out.

In a similar way to these women, sexual assault survivors outside of the Church of Scientology may not speak out about their assault because they feel like the trouble isn’t worth it. The trouble of having to talk about a moment in which your voice was stolen from you or convince people that it happened.

According to PsychCentral, there are a wide variety of reasons why survivors don't tell someone about the abuse they suffered or report it to the authorities. 


Among the reasons why they might not tell anyone are because they fear judgment, they think no one will believe them, they worry about their safety, they’re afraid of punishment, or feel ashamed.

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Victims may not report it to authorities because they feel responsible for it, they might downplay the abuse, or maybe they don’t have support to lean on or the financial resources to go through a trial. If there are children involved, the survivor may be worried about how it would affect them. The survivor may not feel as though there’s a safe space for them to go to.


According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, rape is the most under-reported crime in the United States. Approximately 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police.

Sexual assault survivors deserve to have their voices heard and deserve to see justice brought against their abusers.

Anyone affected by sexual assault can find support on the National Sexual Assault Hotline, a safe, confidential service. Contact The Hotline or call 800-656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member.


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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.