In response to Trump’s defense of Brett Kavanaugh, Alyssa Milano and thousands of other women speak out about their own sexual assault stories and why they never reported them.
Actress Alyssa Milano wrote a powerful op-ed in Vox on Sunday about her own experience with sexual assault. Milano, like thousands of other women, was extremely offended when Donald Trump tweeted out last week that women who really experience sexual assault report the crime.
“The courage of survivors will always be stronger than Donald Trump’s misogyny. The lives of survivors will always be more important than Brett Kavanaugh’s career.”
Milano says that she wasn’t much older than Dr. Ford was when she alleges that Kavanaugh attacked her. She says that she “watched, horrified, as politicians and pundits refused to believe or take seriously these allegations.”
Milano says that it chilled her to her core when Trump said that if Ford’s accusations were true she would’ve reported it to the police decades ago.
“Far too many of us know that what President Trump said is simply not true. Victims of sexual assault often don’t report what happened because they know all too well that our stories are rarely taken seriously or believed — and that when it comes to sexual misconduct, our justice system is broken. Now we are seeing our worst nightmares realized when we see the disbelief, pushback, hate, and death threats Ford is receiving just because she had the courage to speak up.”
“It took me years after my assault to voice the experience to my closest friends. It took me three decades to tell my parents that the assault had even happened. I never filed a police report. I never told officials. I never tried to find justice for my pain because justice was never an option.
“For me, speaking up meant reliving one of the worst moments of my life. It meant recognizing my attacker’s existence when I wanted nothing more than to forget that he was allowed to walk on this earth at all. This is what every survivor goes through. Telling our stories means being vulnerable to public attacks and ridicule when our only “crime” was to be assaulted in the first place.”
And Milano’s story is not unique. In fact her story is tragically common.
Thousands of women with their own horrific stories took to Twitter over the weekend to tell their truths and explain to people like Trump why they never reported their attacks.
Over the weekend nearly a million women and men who’ve experienced sexual assault tweeted under the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport.
#WhyIDidntReport When I was 17, during the summer after I graduated High School, I was supposed to be on a date and ended up the guy took me to a house and 5 guys raped me. I am 72 years old now and this is the first time I have ever spoken up. I have been too ashamed to report
— Barbara Chapnick (@whynotbikethere) September 24, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport because I weighed up the pain and trauma of the assault with the pain and trauma of going to court with a lawyer pulling apart every aspect of my sex life to justify why I deserved it. Moving on from the assault was the less traumatic, most protective option.
— shaleeg (@shaleeyoyoyo) September 24, 2018
He was a cop and my father and the abuse began when I was 4. He carried a gun all the time until 3 months before he died at 81. I didn’t tell anyone until I was in my late thirties. When I told my family after he died, they disowned me. #WhyIDidntReport
— Amalia Uribe (@uribe1953) September 24, 2018
#whyIdidntreport because they were military and I’d get the Christine Blasey Ford treatment and it’d get swept under the rug to protect their careers. Another female sailor I know reported and was kicked out of the Navy.
— THICK Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (@agentofshield__) September 24, 2018
1. He was my husband at the time.
2. What he did was not illegal in the state where we lived at the time he did it.
3. I was ashamed, in a contested divorce proceeding, and felt alone.
4. This is the first time I've acknowledged it publicly–4 decades later.#WhyIDidntReport
— Dr. MargaretSThompson (@mstfromsu) September 24, 2018
I was 10 and didn't think anyone would believe me. I never told the police, nor have I shared the details with anyone to this day. I'm 33 and still feel shame and embarrassment that I couldn't protect myself.#WhyIDidntReport
— Sarah Ott (@Flanders320) September 24, 2018
Because everyone adored him.
Because I was young & didnt know what abuse was.
Because I didn’t want to believe it.
Because we had been together so long.
Because I was scared.
Because when I finally got help everyone threatened me and my family. #WhyIDidntReport
— ken (@kennn_you_not) September 24, 2018
Because I was 14. I filed a restraining order and the media wanted my name and his. If I filed charges, I would be a news story, and I would have probably lost anyway. I was humiliated and wanted to be left alone. #WhyIDidntReport
— Maria Brun (@MCB_Energy) September 24, 2018
I was 7 and to this day my family doesnt know bcuz I didn't understand what he was doing and he never silenced me I wasnt sure if anyone would believe me especially after years of never telling anyone #WhyIDidntReport
— Sylvia (@queensylvia98) September 24, 2018
Because we were together for years before it happened, and I loved him.
Because I wanted to just get out of the toxic cesspool our relationship had become.
Because I thought we might be able to fix things (I was wrong).
Because I had no proof it happened.
— CosmicRae (@mfishyfish) September 24, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport I was 22, taxi driver took out his penis in the middle of the highway. When I panicked he put it back in and thankfully that was it. When I got out I actually paid him, didn’t write down the plate. Hard to understand unless you’ve been there how u just freeze up
— mickey chesla (@mickeychesla) September 24, 2018
#WhyIDidntReport Told my mother, she said no man would want me if they knew and to keep my mouth shut. 45 years later, virtually no one in my life knows what happened.
— Bird On The Street (@BirdOnTheSt) September 24, 2018
I was a kid, not equipped to deal with the reality so I suppressed it completely for about 25 years. Survivors talk when they're ready. Trying to undermine credibility because of when they choose to talk is monstrous. Survivors are in the driving seat. Not you. #WhyIDidntReport
— Halldór Auðar Svansson (@tharfagreinir) September 24, 2018