An advocate for sexual assault victims said the latest social media movement is changing the conversation about abuse survivors.
#WhyIDidntReport was created amid reports that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser never reported sexual assault claims to law enforcement.
Gabe Cripe, director of community outreach for the YWCA McLean County Stepping Stones program, told GLT's Sound Ideas the reasons victims don't report are real, while false claims are rare.
“You have a really good opportunity to just jump online and search a hashtag and get answers to some of the questions you might have,” Cripe said. “You have an opportunity to hear people’s experiences. You have an opportunity to really listen and soak in that information.”
Cripe said many sexual assault victims are ashamed, blame themselves, fear retaliation or assume no one will believe them.
He said the public should believe survivors.
Cripe said dismissing any claim of assault can send a hurtful message to all survivors.
“There’s people who will be reading their posts who have experienced sexual assault and a lot of times those messages get internalized,” Cripe said. “While you might think you are addressing this one specific case of sexual assault, another survivor might apply your line of thinking to their own case.”
Cripe said studies have shown false claims of sexual assault to be between 2 and 8 percent.
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