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A new hashtag represents the anti sexual assault movement

Christine Blasey said she was dragged, drunk and vulnerable, into a bedroom, where one high school student pinned her down in an attempt to take advantage of her and another watched the scene unfold. Still another, she said, covered her mouth so no one could hear her if she tried to scream.

Christine Blasey, now Christine Blasey Ford, was fifteen years old at the time. She now names Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as her assaulter and is calling for the FBI to launch an investigation against him.

Many American Citizens called for the investigation as well, while Kavanaugh supporters called for the vote to proceed as planned. President Donald Trump expressed his support of Kavanaugh on twitter after the allegations and said, “If the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local law enforcement authorities?”

After Trump’s tweet, women and men took to Twitter and other outlets to tell stories of sexual assault that went unreported. They used the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport in an effort to help others understand that often, experiences feel too shameful, or victims are made to feel guilty and choose not to come forward.

Ana Castillo, junior business major at John Brown University, said it is important for assault victims’ voices to be heard moving forward with the Supreme Court Decision because “Some stories that [victims] are telling, it took them years to come forward,” but people still need to listen to their stories.

Amber Bell, entrepreneur based in Rogers, said, “My personal story started when I was seventeen years old. My biological father raped me. I’ve been raped multiple times since then. It’s taken me a long time to find my voice.” Bell said, after one instance, she decided to use a rape kit to report the man who raped her. She said, when she went to the police department, “the detective literally looked me in the face and said, ‘I don’t believe you, and neither will a jury.’ I told him, ‘You are the reason people don’t report things like this.’”

Other survivors face similar circumstances that prevent them from reporting. Anne Shelley, executive director of the Northwest Arkansas Center for Sexual Assault, said “I myself am I survivor of childhood sexual assault. I have seen so many people who are victims of [sexual assault] or are violated because we live in a society that devalues some and empowers others to hurt people.”

“There’s such a need in our community for folks to give voice to this and help survivors know they are not alone. There’s help here,” Shelley said. “There’s people that will always believe you and help you in every step toward healing.”

Bell said she hopes to see more victims taking a stand, especially women. “We have to bring up this generation to know boys will not be boys. Girls are just as sexual as men are, but they are forced to hide it. It’s a stupid excuse. I hope that the #MeToo movement continues to grow.”

Shelley said the main problem is the society we live in: “Sexual assault survivors are very rarely believed. Undoing rape culture messages is so difficult. Even survivors have a victim-blaming mindset.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee proposed holding a hearing Wednesday Sept. 26 to hear testimony from Kavanaugh and Ford, according to NBC, with no other witnesses called and a lawyer chosen by the committee to conduct questioning.