Last 2018, President Donald Trump tweeted, asking why a woman sexually assaulted by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh didn’t come forward sooner. It gave birth to a painful yet cathartic Twitter hashtag called #WhyIDidntReport. In this hashtag, survivors of sexual assault from all sex, race and gender break their silence and share their collective trauma.
#WhyIDidntReport trends again two years after the hashtag was made. With the hashtag currently on Twitter’s top three trending topics as of writing, it further proves how sexual assault can happen to anyone—and it’s worse than we think.
It started picking up traction last Jun. 1. Like two years ago, its main purpose is to give a platform for sexual assault survivors to tell their story in their own terms. This hashtag is important to the Philippines right now too.
Retweet if you're against rape.
Retweet if you're against racism.
Retweet if you're against police brutality.
Retweet if you're tired! #BlackLivesMatter #GeorgeFloyd #ICantBreathe #EnoughIsEnough #SayNoToRapist #BlackOutTuesday #whyididntreport pic.twitter.com/GpRD7Jj0If
— girlwithdsign (@girlwithdsign) June 2, 2020
With “sex-for-pass” schemes rampant across checkpoints, our government asks victims to file their complaints. Only trouble is, when Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque asked the Philippine National Police about these schemes, the PNP claimed there were no complaints about it. “If you are afraid, you may go to my office or you may go to the women’s and children’s desk. All police stations have that,” adds Roque.
In light of people sharing their stories and the hashtag “ #whyididntreport “ trending, I thought it would be a good idea to bring this gem back. Spread awareness. Spread love. ♥︎ pic.twitter.com/6JaMEpPMTo
— ??? (@xx_jmc) June 2, 2020
Recently, Senator Risa Hontiveros called out a Facebook page containing explicit pictures and videos of underaged girls. “Nakarating sa opisina ko na mayroong mga Facebook pages kung saan naka-post ang napakaraming mahahalay na larawan ng mga babaeng bata,” Hontiveros’ post reads. “Napakasakit makita ang mga ito, lalo na para sa akin bilang isang ina at babae.”
CNN reported that someone is raped in our country every hour. #WhyIDidntReport exists for so many reasons, but one of the main reasons is the law is rarely on the victim’s side. It’s always the victim’s fault; what they wore, how intoxicated they were and why they froze up and didn’t fight back.
It’s an important hashtag documenting these unheard, tragic stories of survival. But it’s always a sad reminder of our broken system and how it often fails to side with sexual assault victims.
Art by Rogin Losa