We all know too well the power of sharing our stories. In doing so, we help to heal ourselves while also giving others permission to do the same. For victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, sharing their stories can be a particularly daunting task. They may feel like they're reliving the trauma all over again or that no one will believe them. They may worry that they'll be blamed or that they won't be able to get justice. And yet, despite all of these fears, many still find the strength to share their stories publicly in an effort to bring about change.
To those who haven't shared their stories yet, this post is for you. Your experiences are valid and deserve to be heard. You are not alone. We see you, we believe you, and we stand with you. Your story has the power to change lives, so please don't hesitate to share it when you're ready. Thank you for your bravery.
If you have experienced sexual assault or domestic violence and haven't yet shared your story, know that you are not alone. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. And although data on domestic violence is notoriously difficult to collect, we know that it's a pervasive problem affecting people of all genders, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
So why don't more victims and survivors speak out? There are many reasons why someone might choose not to share their story publicly, including but not limited to:
- Fear of retaliation: retaliation from the perpetrator is a very real concern for many victims and survivors. According to a study by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 76% of domestic violence survivors said that their abuser threatened or harmed them when they tried to leave or after they left.
- Fear of not being believed: unfortunately, victims and survivors often face skepticism and victim-blaming when they come forward with their stories. This is particularly true for women, who are often accused of lying about or exaggerating their experiences.
- Fear of re-traumatization: reliving the trauma can be incredibly painful and overwhelming, so much so that some people may choose not to share their story lest they have to relive it again.
- Lack of faith in the justice system: unfortunately, the justice system is not always kind or fair to victims and survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. According to RAINN, only 344 out of every 1,000 rapes lead to charges being filed, let alone a conviction.
- Concerns about privacy: many people worry about losing their privacy if they come forward with their stories. This fear is especially valid for those who work in industries where there is a lot of public scrutiny (e.g., celebrities) or for those who have a lot to lose (e.g., wealthy people).
These are just some of the reasons why someone might choose not to speak out about their experience with sexual assault or domestic violence. If you are a victim or survivor who hasn't yet shared your story, know that there is no "right" way to do it – only what's right for you. When you're ready, please know that we see you, we believe you, and we stand with you.''',
In conclusion, whatever your reason may be for not sharing your story publicly yet, know that your experiences are valid and deserve to be heard.
You are not alone.
We see you; we believe you, and we stand with you."