As survivors of gender-based violence, we want to raise our voices in response to Bruce Harrell’s attempts to silence us and the many other voices of victims who have suffered at the hands of their abusers. We are waiting for Harrell to apologize for his actions and take responsibility for the harm he is perpetuating on survivors.
We know the first-hand impacts and long-term effects of sexual assault/sexual harassment. Regardless of your race, statements from the victim or survivor must always be taken seriously and not lightly. Saying it may or may not have happened is a common way of discrediting the survivor. The trauma of the assault/harassment is only compounded when the victim/survivor is looked down upon, blamed instead of being supported, or told that it was a long time ago.
As survivors, we have not forgotten what happened to us even though for one of us it has been decades. For some of us, we still live in fear for our lives which is the reason we cannot sign with our last names. However, we know that thousands of victims could sign this letter as every 68 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. and 90% of adult rape victims are female. But because of our rape culture, so many victims/survivors are afraid to speak out.
If you are not a victim or survivor, at least be respectful and try to support them instead of belittling or blaming them.