Inspired by a very strong friend - I'm making a decision to stand with Dr. Ford:
I didn’t report because I was 17 and confused about what happened. I only had vague moments of memories, and the idea that I could have been drugged didn't occur to me. The reality of what had actually happened didn't hit me until I had to find ways to cover up the hand-shaped bruises on my face, neck, and wrists.
I didn't report because the man was someone I knew and thought I could trust, and afterward he did nice things for me. I've since learned this is common. A rape victim will question whether it was rape because her attacker brushed leaves off her back after forcing her into them. I was confused by him bringing me food and changing the sheets.
I didn't report because he told me I wanted it. I had enjoyed his initial attention. He was older, he must be right. What did I know at 17?
I didn't report because it happened on Christmas Eve, and all I wanted to was to spend a happy Christmas Day with people I loved.
I didn't report because when I first told my boyfriend what happened, I said I cheated. When I told him the truth a few hours later, he didn't believe me. His anger never left me.
I didn't report because when I told several people I trust in my church, including two pastors, I was told it was my fault for being alone with a man. I was to blame. I was shameful in the eyes of God and to be judged for what I had done.
I didn't report because I was a strong 6'4" athlete. How could a man overpower me?
I didn't report because I was not emotionally capable of processing what had happened to me. As a friend said, "Rape is not the kind of thing the human brain easily recognizes as fact. Eventually, adrenaline and shock gave way to a numb, cold certainty I could no longer explain away." Months later, as a freshman in college, my attacker contacted me. My incredible basketball team heard me and supported me. It was only then that I was able to start to deal with what had happened. After what I now consider a minor mental breakdown, I faced what happened and started (STARTED!!!!) to rebuild. I considered reporting then, but at what cost? With what evidence?
And in following years, when other assaults happened that I've now learned were non-consensual, I didn't report because I didn't even consider them assault compared to that life-changing moment at 17.
I'm quoting my friend directly here because I can't say this next part better than she did:
"Not reporting is my reality. It’s the reality of thousands upon thousands of women, men, non-binary/trans folx, and children who’ve been raped and sexually assaulted or abused. It’s a reality for survivors far more often than it isn’t. The statistics are absolutely staggering. The vast majority of these crimes are never reported, and that’s NOT because they don’t happen. False reports are so very, very rare."
I believe and stand with Dr. Ford.