If Allegations Of Sexual Assault Are True, It Doesn't Matter When The Victim Decides To Come Forward
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Politics and Activism

If Allegations Of Sexual Assault Are True, It Does Not Matter When The Victim Comes Forward

It is not a matter of when sexual assault happened. It is a matter of sexual assault happening at all.


It is impossible to imagine a color you've never seen before. Similarly, it is impossible to imagine the effects of a trauma that you've never experienced. If you have never experienced sexual assault, your opinion on how victims handle their trauma, including criticisms along the line of "Why didn't she come forward sooner?" is irrelevant.

People bombard victims with this question every time a high-profile man is accused of sexual harassment. Most recently, defenders of Brett Kavanaugh have undermined the validity of Christine Blasey Ford's accusation due to the fact that she decided to come forward publicly about it decades later. They claim that she came forward with the sole intention to ruin his career and diminishes his chances of becoming the Supreme Court Justice.

It is inconvenient for Kavanaugh to have these allegations brought to light in such a crucial part of his career, however, it is more painful for Dr. Ford and the other women who came forward to see their alleged abuser hold such a powerful position in society.

According to Dr. Ford, "Mr. Kavanaugh's actions, while many years ago, were serious and have had a lasting impact on my life. I thought that knowledge of his actions could be useful for you and those in charge of choosing among the various candidates. My original intent was first and foremost to be a helpful citizen—in a confidential way that would minimize collateral damage to all families and friends involved."

Since Kavanaugh could soon be in the position to make major decisions regarding women's rights, it is important to listen to what women have to say about his past behavior since past behavior frequently indicates future behavior.

The same things that critics claim makes Dr. Ford's statement unbelievable, such as reporting the incident years after the event and forgetting specific details, are things that psychologists say are common of sexual assault victims.

It is common for survivors of sexual assault to wait a substantial amount of time before coming forward publicly. Sometimes it takes time to process trauma personally, let alone relay it publicly. Most never come forward out of a fear of not being believed or a fear of facing retaliation and negative consequences.

Since making the allegation, Dr. Ford herself has received death threats and has been forced to relocate for her own safety. She didn't do this for attention. She didn't do this for fame. She didn't do this for personal gain. She did this to relay the truth about Kavanaugh's character according to her personal experiences.

The #MeToo movement sends a strong message to men everywhere. If you've sexually assaulted a woman, it could come back to bite you at any point of your life. It's a harsh reality, but it is in no way comparable to the pain of women who live with the trauma for a lifetime.

There are rare situations in which innocent people are accused of sexual assault and rape. Every allegation of sexual assault should be examined closely. Falsely accusing someone of sexual assault or rape is one of the most horrendous accusations and is inexcusable.

However, it is unwarranted for people to blindly defend Kavanaugh when they know little about the situation and refuse to even hear the perspectives of the multiple women who have come forward since Ford.

Every woman who comes forward about sexual assault deserves a fair trial and a chance to be heard. The extreme harassment of alleged victims is precisely the reason why women are hesitant to come forward about the event in the first place.

Instead of asking women why it takes so long for them to come forward about sexual assault, we should really be asking why so many powerful men in our society are being found guilty of assaulting women. Regardless of the outcome of Kavanaugh's case, it is clear that our society is hell-bent on defending men and immediately discrediting women. As a society, we must stop berating accusers by asking them why they waited so long. Instead, we need to focus on how we can show them support and respect in their pursuit of justice.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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