Hello, Bees! Profile picture
Sep 19, 2018 21 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
"Why would she wait until now to report the sexual assault?"

A Thread.

#Kavanaugh #RapeCulture #ContentWarning
I write a lot of poems about sexual assault and rape culture. I perform these poems at slams all over the country, and when I do, women come up to me after the slam to tell me their stories.

So I'm not merely speaking about my own experience; this is a collective femme Catch 22.
The pressure is on us to report quickly; but victims are emotionally compromised by the situation.

94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of PTSD in the 2 weeks after the assault.

-via RAINN
This can be especially aggravated if the memories are compromised due to alcohol, pre-existing mental illness, or emotional factors.

Such as... social pressure.

93% of Juvenile sexual assault victims know the perpetrator.

-via RAINN
When you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD and have just been assaulted by someone your friends/parents/teachers all like, you're less likely to come forward immediately.

You have a few options:
Tell, and face months of slut shaming, victim blaming, peer group collapse, social ostracism, gaslighting, and revictimization.


Don't tell, and wait for it to go away.
If you tell, he will deny it. Of course he will. Who admits to being a rapist? And there is never proof.

Hell, when a rapist is caught on film or caught by witnesses, they get what, three months of jail time?

No one believes you because it's easy not to. They'll want proof.
The burden of proof will crush you. How do you prove a sexual assault happened?

If he got you alone. If there were no cameras. If everyone was drunk? No one remembers? It's normal? If he didn't penetrate you? If he did and claims it was consensual. How do you prove it?
It's your word against his.

And no one listens when women speak.
When all you want is for it to have not happened, for the problem to go away, to not feel sad and scared and violated anymore... you don't report. You distance yourself from your abuser as best you can.

You hide in plain sight.
For most victims of sexual assault, the top priority is not justice. It's safety.

Reporting has a slim chance of achieving justice, and a guarantee of danger.

Even in 2018, post #MeToo.

In the 80's? Forget it.
It takes a great deal of bravery and sacrifice to tell anyone you've been assaulted. And by someone you know. Someone they know. Someone in the yearbook. Someone your friends invite to parties. Someone with powerful parents.

And you don't have bravery, you have PTSD.
All you want is distance. Safety. Normalcy.

You want him gone. To have no impact on your life. You want him to not exist.

You go away to college. You quit your job. You go to therapy. You move on with your life.
But now he's in the news. He's becoming more powerful. Arguably, the life-term and impact on policy a Supreme Court Justice has makes them more powerful than a president.

If he is appointed, you cannot escape him. There is no distance. Silence won't keep you safe anymore.
He will be making decisions about your life. Birth control. Healthcare. Taxes. Community. Rights. Everything.

You created a safe life for yourself where he couldn't touch you, but now he will have his hands on everything.

He, who overpowered you, is becoming so powerful.
People ask "why would she come forward about this now" as a rhetorical question, but it isn't rhetorical. There's a very real and obvious answer.

She's coming forward now because it matters now.
And, not to mention, we have this idea that things are changing, right?

Some powerful men are losing jobs and going to prison, right? Maybe?

Is it safe to come forward yet? To keep someone who hurt you off the bench? Will it ever be safe to tell the truth?
I have not publicly named either of the men who assaulted me.


Because I'm safer if they feel like they got away with it. My life is measurably better because I keep that secret.

For now.
There is nothing that can happen to Kavanaugh that is worse than what is happening to her right now.

Even if he loses the appointment. Even if his career is over. Even if his wife leaves him over the disgrace.

What is happening to her right now is worse.
And that is why we do not tell.
Until we do.

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