About

TRIGGER WARNING: For descriptions of rape, PTSD, violence.

PLEASE NOTE: The “Why I didn’t report” stories are submitted by rape survivors and victims from around South Africa (and a couple from abroad) as well as by their family members and friends. These stories are published anonymously at the request of the authors. Please do not re-publish these stories outside of this website without my permission, as I have to clear this with the author of the story. This is in order to maintain the integrity of the authors’ stories, as well as respect their privacy. Please help me create safe spaces for survivors to tell their stories by respecting this request.

Note: Rape myths abound after virtually every case of rape or sexual violence is brought to light. These myths hurt all rape survivors – and if you ever experience sexual violence, these myths will hurt you too. The most common myth I’ve seen is the fallacy that if you don’t report to the police, it didn’t happen. I put out a call on Twitter for survivors who didn’t report to send me their story.

The rampant abuse of survivors of sexual violence by police, the criminal justice system and our own friends and families, most survivors choose not to proceed with legal action against our abusers.

The rampant abuse of survivors of sexual violence by police, the criminal justice system and our own friends and families, most survivors choose not to proceed with legal action against our abusers. This decision is not the exception. In South Africa, as few as 1 in 35 survivors report their abuse according to statistics used by the South African Police Department. Some sexual violence non-government organisations (NGOs) estimate that as many as 1 in 4 survivors report their abuse. It is an impossible number to accurately quantify, since so many survivors don’t come forward to report due to the nature of sexual violence and rape culture.

When survivors of sexual violence delay in reporting or choose not to report their abuse, this is usually used to undermine their story. Ostensibly, the fact that we didn’t report our abuse is an indication that we weren’t actually assaulted to begin with.

It is for this reason that we, those who didn’t report, have decided to tell our stories about why we chose and continue to choose not to report the crimes meted out against our bodies.

It is for this reason that we, those who didn’t report, have decided to tell our stories about why we chose and continue to choose not to report the crimes meted out against our bodies. 

While it is understandably difficult for many survivors to put their feelings into words, I would ask that anyone who has experienced sexual violence, didn’t report, and would like to tell their story to contact me.

If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle@journoactivist.com.

I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.

If you are rape survivor based in South Africa and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence’ helpline at 0800 150 150.

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