The Reasons Why Victims Don’t Report Abuse

It’s not that it didn’t really happen…

Zita Fontaine

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I had my lucid moments when I knew how wrong it all had been. How unacceptable, how horrific, how humiliating. I knew when he was just slightly crossing a line and I was fully aware how unforgivably far he went at times. I knew the events that should have been reported — the beating, the sexual abuse… damage of property was the most straightforward and tangible but I had proof of it all; I wore it on or in my body.

And still… It took me years to muster up enough courage to turn to the authorities — deciding that it was enough, I can’t take this anymore, I can’t let him get away with another one. Not this time. Not ever. But seeking justice put me through a different kind of hell — something unknown, something terrifying, something unfair.

A frightening number of abuse, rape, and sexual assault cases go unreported. The number of reported cases is already terrifying, but it clearly is just the tip of the iceberg. According to recent statistics, 3 out of 4 cases will remain unreported due to many reasons…

The question is often asked… why didn’t she report it?

Victim-blaming runs deep in society, and it runs deep in people’s minds. So deep, that even victims blame other victims and victims blame themselves. As part of the rape culture, next to slut-shaming, body objectification victim-blaming is definitely up in the top three crimes committed by bystanders and observers.

Let’s just stop for a second, and think about how difficult it could be for the victim to report such a case, if we try to understand the reasons — it might shine a light on the underlying causes, and help to understand better how the nature of abusive behaviour, the circumstances and societal factors can weigh in — and result in unreported cases.

So, why didn’t she?

What on earth could possibly stop her from seeking well-deserved justice?

Shame

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Zita Fontaine

Writer. Dreamer. Hopeless romantic. Newsletter: zita.substack.com Email me: zitafontaine (at) gmail