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Opinion >  Letters

Why they don’t tell

I have been watching with great interest the events of the last couple of years. The Me Too movement has been a call to action for women everywhere — a call to tell their truth without fear or shame. What is the most interesting to me is the question everyone seems to be asking about why don’t women tell when it happens … why wait 36 years or a lifetime before telling?

Our society has always, overtly and covertly, placed the blame for sexual assault on the survivor. As late as the 1970s, a woman claiming rape had to have a witness to the rape, and a witness to her resistance to the rape, before charges could be filed. It wasn’t until 1971 that the first rape crisis line was established, enabling survivors to talk to someone about that happened to them.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t expect women (and men) to tell but then tell them it was their fault. You can’t expect them to tell and then look for every opportunity to discredit them or shame them because their memory is not perfect, or the same as yours.

So why don’t survivors tell – because you don’t want to hear it.

It might require you to take action.

Sharon O’Brien

Newman Lake


 

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