Rochester woman responds to #whyIdidn'treport
When she was a high school junior, a favorite counselor offered her rides to and from school. Soon, they came with a catch.
"Those trips would often include kissing and fondling. He states he would always deny claims of misconduct," she said.
That is from a Facebook post made earlier this week. That 17 year old girl is now 53. After more than three decades, she is ready to share what happened.
"It's not simple or easy to give voice to it, so in some ways I'm feeling it for the first time," she told 13WHAM's Jane Flasch.
Her Facebook friends will recognize the story, but we've agreed not to identify her. She says the #MeToo movement has given her courage to come forward.
"Now, in my 53-year old self, it would never be okay for my child or any child to be a victim of something like that," she said.
63 percent of sexual assaults are never reported to police. Reports of sexual harassment are almost never reported. Victims who are encouraged by the #MeToo movement are now addressing critics who want to know why they didn't report the alleged incidents at the time they first happened. The critics include President Trump, who has targeted accusers of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Victims are responding with a new hashtag: #WhyIDidn'tReport.
Asked why her 17-year-old self would not report what happened to police or even an adult, the author of the Facebook post said "Because people wouldn't believe me. Because he was a person that people liked."
She was so terrified, she kept her secret. Now that she's put it out there, she's terrified again and shared that on Facebook, too. "I have been intimidated by the thought of backlash and judgement. This morning, I'm even questioning whether I should have said anything at all," she wrote.
So far, she has not experienced any backlash. People responding to the post have been positive and encouraging. Some have even shared similar stories of their own. But she continues to watch how #whyididn'treport plays out nationally.
"The whole situation is one of shaming. Shaming you to keep quite. Making it so that you don't trust yourself," she said.