It took me years after my assault to voice the experience to my closest friends. It took me three decades to tell my parents that the assault had even happened. I never filed a police report. I never told officials. I never tried to find justice for my pain because justice was never an option.
For me, speaking up meant reliving one of the worst moments of my life. It meant recognizing my attacker’s existence when I wanted nothing more than to forget that he was allowed to walk on this Earth at all. This is what every survivor goes through. Telling our stories means being vulnerable to public attacks and ridicule when our only “crime” was to be assaulted in the first place.
And we are not alone. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old. This is the reality for survivors of sexual assault: our journey begins in fear and, for many of us, it continues in fear for the rest of our lives.
Yet, today, we will not be silenced.
On Friday, in response to President Trump’s tweet I decided to speak out about my own experience—and I welcomed other survivors of sexual assault to do the same. I encourage you to read the replies of people across the country who have carried the burden of being a survivor, sometimes for years, and never reported it.