Latinas open up on Instagram about their experiences with sexual assault
The account @whyididntreport is a space for women to share their stories and the reasons they didn’t report their own cases.
Oftentimes when cases of sexual assault become publicized, people wonder why survivors failed to report the incident sooner. But many choose not to report at all, and the Instagram account @whyididntreport highlights a lot of the reasons.
Mitú came across six recent posts by Latina women and talked to them about their unique experiences with assault and why they didn’t seek help from the police.
Unfortunately, sexual assault often occurs within families, which makes survivors feel that no one will believe them or that they will be shamed.
“My mom did not believe me because it was her husband, we would always fight and he would put her against me. That’s why I always say my children will always come first, even before me and my own needs,” wrote the first woman profiled.
Many survivors are told that they are exaggerating their stories or simply seeking attention and sympathy. The second woman wrote that she was always labeled “dramatic” by her friends, and assumed no one would believe her.
“He was 17 and I was 12. He was a family friend and went to church with me. I thought I was going to Bible study. He threatened my life with weapons. When I told someone I trusted, they blamed me and thought I was a liar. He was supposed to be my YOUTH LEADER, not my rapist,” the woman wrote for the Instagram post.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, more than half of female survivors report being raped by an intimate partner. The third woman wrote that she didn’t report “because he was my first boyfriend and he said he loved me.”
She told Mitú that she is still processing the trauma even after 20 years.
Survivors often blame themselves for what they went through and feel as though they deserved it.
The fourth woman told Mitú that she was assaulted by her step grandfather in early childhood, but didn’t tell her parents until high school because she was so embarrassed and felt it was her fault.
The Brock Turner case demonstrated clearly how public opinion sways more towards the accused rapist and their reputation and future, rather than the survivor, whose life has already been ruined.
This can impact survivors and whether or not they choose to report or even tell anyone about what happened.
The fifth woman wrote that she didn’t want to ruin his life because the perpetrator was her boss at the time.
“At 15 I felt so bad, because the wife was the only other person working with us and I was more worried about what this could do to their marriage,” she wrote.
The sixth woman also held back from speaking up because the perpetrator was not only her boss, but her dad’s boss as well.
“They knew each other for years and I didn’t think he [her dad] would believe me. I was scared that my dad would lose his job,” she wrote.
There are several reasons that survivors of sexual assault, regardless of gender, choose not to report, but too many times it’s because society does not welcome their stories with a warm embrace. The feminist concept of “rape culture” is alive and well, especially for Latinas and other women of color.