In the lead up to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee about sexual abuse allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace spoke for a moment about how the controversy has affected his family.
Wallace revealed that his family had discussed the controversy and during their conversations, two of his daughters came forward with their own stories of dealing with sexual impropriety in high school.
“Two of my daughters told me stories that I had never heard before about things that happened to them in high school,” Wallace admitted. While he said the stories weren’t as serious as those allegedly committed by Kavanaugh, he said, “the point is that there are teenage girls who don’t tell stories to a lot of people, and then it comes up.”
While many have criticized Ford for not speaking up immediately after the alleged sexual assault, Wallace says that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. “I don’t think we can disregard Christine Blasey Ford and the seriousness of this. I think that would be a big mistake.”
Wallace is correct.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 23% of rape or sexual assault victims reported the incidents to police in 2016.
There are numerous reasons why these attacks go unreported.
A 2007 study funded by the DOJ uncovered many different reasons that have remained fairly consistent over the years. Specifically, researchers found that students:
1 – Said they did not have proof that the incident occurre
2 – Were afraid of retaliation by the perpetrator
3 – Were scared of hostile treatment by the authorities
4 – Were uncertain the authorities would consider the incident serious enough
5 – Wanted to prevent family and others from learning about it
6 – Didn’t know how to report the incident
By coming forward about being the victim of sexual assault, Ford has created the space for society to have a dialog like the one Wallace shared with his family. Ford’s courage also inspired young women to share their stories and gave their father the opportunity to discuss the realities of sexial violence with his audience.
Share image via Jim Greenhill / WikimediaCommons.