For the past couple of weeks, the news cycle has largely revolved around the issue of sexual assault. On Thursday, the nation watched and reacted as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford detailed her memories of the assault she experienced in high school.
Last week, NO MORE Executive Director Tracy DeTomasi joined CNN’s Christi Paul and columnist Anushay Hossain to discuss the trending Twitter hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, a hashtag survivors used to share their reasons for staying silent about abuse.
On Saturday morning, DeTomasi joined Paul once again to discuss survivor responses to sexual assault, how this news cycle can trigger survivors, and what this moment—this attention to the epidemic of sexual assault—means for our country.
We’ve seen that these events are truly impacting survivors. On the day of Dr. Ford’s testimony, RAINN experienced a 200% increase in calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline. It’s apparent that while watching Dr. Ford, thousands of people felt empowered to speak about their trauma.
We must keep up this momentum. We must commit ourselves to education, engagement, and action.
Right now, DeTomasi and NO MORE are hopeful that survivors are demanding to be heard. We are hopeful that people are recognizing the toxicity of victim-blame, and are standing up against statements like, “boys will be boys.” We are hopeful that more people are taking action, organizing in their communities, and making change at the local level.
We recognize how much work is left to be done. We are still living in a society that shames and criticizes survivors, protects perpetrators, and encourages domestic and sexual violence. But for however brief a moment, the country is paying attention, and many seem willing to learn.
We must keep up this momentum. We must commit ourselves to education, engagement, and action. For the sake of the millions of people who have experienced sexual assault, for future generations, and for ourselves—we must not let this moment slip away.