Women have often faced violence and misogyny when speaking out about the unnecessary hurdles that arise when attempting to share stories of mistreatment, abuse or sexual misconduct.
That shaming often leads to a silence that means underreporting for fear of being attacked or ridiculed.
This week, the topic has yet again taken over social media as Donald Trump’s history of contempt for women continues to surface.
As the public continues to process Trump’s latest series of defamatory comments towards the women who bravely came forward with their stories of alleged sexual assault, Thursday saw the birth of the #WhyWomenDontReport hashtag.
Although it initially started as a way for other female journalists to share their stories, it soon became an outlet for women in general to bring awareness to the many reasons why some women decide not to publicize their stories about the unspeakable things they’ve gone through, particularly where men were at fault.
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Because most Americans still don't care that Thomas Jefferson repeatedly raped a teenaged slave. #WhyWomenDontReport— Queen Solomon (@alwaystheself) October 14, 2016
He is innocent until proven guilty but I am a liar until proven honest #WhyWomenDontReport— Dals (@daliataboun) October 14, 2016
#whywomendontreport because men like Brock Turner only get 3 months in jail while still being known as a swimmer and not a rapist.— Normani stan (@Zoeybaby09) October 14, 2016
#WhyWomenDontReport— Robert People (@PeoplesCourt79) October 13, 2016
#38 - Because parents spend more time telling girls to watch out for sexual assault than telling boys not to do it
The fact that hundreds of women were able to cite multiple examples that apply to this hashtag both in present day and historically speaks volumes to the life span of this troubling epidemic.
Not only should women feel safe, encouraged and protected when deciding whether or not to come forward with stories of their horrific experiences, but they should be able to stand firm on the fact that the days of people shaming them for doing so are no more.
As this hashtag and this draining week of repetitive stories from women who have been targeted by a man this country is considering for the highest office available have shown us, we have quite a long way to go in more ways than one.