Why don’t they report it?

26/365 - Such Shame

As more and more stories of women’s encounters with Canadian radio host/musician/producer Jian Ghomeshi have come to light (and sparked an investigation by police thanks to at least three women coming forward to file complaints), Emily and I have spent a great deal of time talking about this situation in specific, but assault in general. The other night, I asked:

Why aren’t more women reporting these types of crimes?

After thinking about it for quite a while, Emily gave her answer on the ride to church Sunday morning. She suggested that for some women, it’s a case of not thinking it counts. At least, not for them.

What Emily hit on right away is the lie sexual assault (and sexual predators) tells victims, A lie that says “this isn’t a big deal.” A lie that says:

  • It doesn’t “count” if it was (at least initially) consensual.
  • It doesn’t “count” if you were just being groomed.
  • It doesn’t “count” if you had one too many drinks.
  • It doesn’t “count” if you didn’t fight back.

And so, as the lie take root, victims pretend like nothing happened. Or that it wasn’t a big deal. Or that maybe they “deserved” whatever happened.

Predators continue to roam free, while their victims become trapped by their shame-induced silence.

I wonder how many women (and men, for that matter), would speak up if someone told them, “It counts”?

  • No matter how things started, it counts.
  • No matter how far things progressed, it counts.
  • No matter how much (or little) you drank, it counts.
  • No matter how much of a fight you put up, it counts.

“You did not ask for this. You should not be silenced. You are not worthless. You do not have to pretend like nothing happened. You are not damaged goods, forgotten or ignored by God, or ‘getting what you deserve.'” (Is It My Fault?, 21)

If we want victims to speak up, we need to help them see the truth. We need to help them see that when assault happens, it counts. Period.


photo credit: royalconstantinesociety via photopin cc

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books for adults and children, as well as multiple documentaries and Bible studies. His latest book, I'm a Christian—Now What?: A Guide to Your New Life with Christ is available now.

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4 Replies to “Why don’t they report it?”

  1. […] Why don’t they report it? […]

  2. Do you think there is also an embarrassment factor? Kind of a “If I report it how do I explain to family and friends that I allowed this to happen?”.

  3. Michelle Dacus Lesley November 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Well said, Aaron. Looking forward to sharing this with my readers (most of whom are women :0)

  4. One of the most worrying trends I see here is in the phrasing of the wikipedia article about Ghomeshi: “A fifth woman … alleg[ed] that Ghomeshi physically abused her without her consent on their first date”.

    The implication of that sentence is that it is possible to be “physically abused” *with* consent. It’s taken decades to get to a place where a majority of people understand the nature and danger and “wrongness” of domestic violence, only for “sexual liberty” to overtake and make acceptable the idea of violence as part of intimate relations.

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