The sexual assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, spurred a nationwide movement on social media: the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport.
Those who use this hashtag are in support of the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed the Supreme Court nominee groped her at a party in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied this allegation.
Much of the controversy is centered around the fact that the incident happened so long ago, yet Ford is just now stepping forward and telling her story.
The story was first reported by a Washington Post reporter named Emma Brown on Sept. 16. of this year.
As the story became more high-profile and began trending on social media, people began to pick sides, either believing Ford or Kavanaugh. In response to the argument that Ford should have stepped forward or reported the assault sooner, women began using the hashtag #WhyIDidn’tReport to share their own personal reasons for not reporting their assault right away.
Some women said, “He was my boss,” or “He was my uncle.” Thousands of women stepped forward using the hashtag.
Celebrities even came forward with personal anecdotes as well. English model and actress Cara Delevingne tweeted, “Because I felt ashamed of what happened and didn’t want to publicly ruin someone’s life, even though they privately ruined mine #WhyIDidntReport.” American actresses Alyssa Milano and Padma Lakshmi also wrote op-eds to share their stories.
Abby Weber, a senior in the Heider College of Business, is one of the program coordinators for the Violence and Prevention Center on Creighton’s campus. She said that the VIP Center has tried to incorporate this movement into their own social media accounts, as she sees it as empowering for victims of abuse.
“Those who share these stories gain support from others and we can all collectively help that person move forward,” Weber said. “We can help them realize they’re not alone.”
According to Weber, the VIP Center provides many resources for victims of these situations, but the most important thing they can provide to survivors is validation.
“Come to us, tell us your story and we’ll help you where you’re at right now,” Weber said.
The VIP Center provides two confidential advocates to listen and offer suggestions, as well as advice on self-care for trauma and safety planning.
As the current news cycle can trigger symptoms in victims of sexual abuse, Weber encourages anyone who may need a confidential resource to contact the VIP Center.