I rarely touch on topics that are heavy.  It’s not that I don’t want to, I just see myself as an optimist and I like to write about fun and silly things in a world that continues to be downright scary.  However, there was no way I could not write about this.

#whywomendontreport

The first thing I want to say is, if you have not checked out this hashtag on twitter, whether you are male or female, I highly suggest you do.  It is a powerful hashtag to say the least and the reasons why women aren’t reporting, haven’t reported, and continue not to report bring us into a harsh reality that many may not be willing to accept.

Do you know who is a victim of assault? Me. Does it define me? No. But it’s important.  Because there are many other people just like me; your friends, your family, your spouse.  You never know who is a victim.  The reasons that women do not stand up for themselves or report is because it is extremely hard to get people on our side.  It’s not a process that is made easy and comfortable.  It is hard, it is scary, and many times you don’t get any sort of relief or justice but ultimately feel even worse that you chose to report it in the first place.

Out of this hashtag many statements have been made.  Here are a few that stood out to me at first glance.

Anyone can assault anyone else.  It isn’t always the same situation but it is a lot more common than most think.  The amount of untested kits and tests that are sitting throughout the country, while predators continue to walk the streets because women aren’t reporting and when they do, the information isn’t being tested in order to catch these men, are just a few of the small and minute reasons that women don’t report.  Another huge issue is that women don’t report because they are afraid of the repercussions that they will receive, the blame that will be placed on them for drinking too much, wearing something too tight, or not being believed at all are major problems.  I can tell you its not an easy process, its not a fun process, it does not make you feel happy and warm inside, and sometimes you go through it all and don’t get a single ounce of comfort.  But i promise, that speaking up and speaking out does pay off in the end, if for your mindset more than anything else.

I beg of you that if you take nothing else from this blog post today, you think about your response before you say it when you find out someone you know has been a victim.  Encourage anyone you know to report something that has happened and make sure to support them as they demand the justice they so deeply deserve.  Help change the story.

My name is Stephanie and #whyireported was so that no one else would ever go through what I went through.  Be the voice, be the change, be the difference, and demand the justice that is deserved.