A couple of nights ago I was watching the news and one of the anchors said “Why would a victim wait this long to come forward? Doesn’t it seem like opportune timing?” This is the rhetoric we are hearing everyday.
The media has been flooded with new scandal after new scandal lately. Every time you turn around a different famous face is now at the center of a full-fledged sexual assault/harassment accusation. One victim comes forward, then another, and before you know it, many famous faces you have looked up to are now monsters in your eyes.
I was blown away by the words of this news anchor. Mind you, there have been people who have made false accusations from time to time, but you can’t let that discredit the stories of true victims. While people may seem more jaded these days, you can’t throw everyone with a story to tell, into the fire.
My question is, why is timing even a question?
If you survived a fire five years ago does it still make you a survivor of a fire today? Yes. If you were sexually assaulted years ago, does it still make you someone who experienced that today? YES. Regardless of the time that has passed and the reasons for not speaking about it, it doesn’t change the fact that, that is now apart of your story.
Why would a victim wait years and years to come forward? I’m no genius but, it doesn’t take one to know there are reasons victims sometimes don’t speak up. I am also no psychologist, but it also doesn’t take one of those to know that sometimes trauma doesn’t show itself right away. People don’t always realize how affected they are by a traumatic incident until they go to do something and pause, out of fear it could lead them back into an uncontrollable situation.
Other reasons? Maybe they are embarrassed? Maybe they have lived with the shame for years. Maybe it’s become a part of who they are. It’s become a normal part of their day. They wake up, they go to work, and they deal. As unfortunate as that sounds, sometimes that’s the reality that many people face.
There are many reasons why a victim wouldn’t speak up. Too many to list. The truth of the matter is sometimes this world is a scary place. Sometimes it takes one brave person in your city, school, or someone famous to state the facts of something that has happened to them. That starts a chain reaction because now famous people, and small town people know that they aren’t alone, and that what happened to them was wrong.
We live in a different world today. We live in a world that is less “tolerant” of bad behavior. This seems to be shocking and new to some, but it is long overdue. Bad behavior fifty years ago would still be considered bad behavior today.
You don’t have to be a victim, or a genius to know why someone who has ever felt violated or victimized wouldn’t speak up. Different people deal with things differently. It is not your job to judge the circumstances, the time passed, or the story.
Just my thoughts.
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