"There is no standard way survivors talk about sexual assault." CNN's @DonLemon talks about the difficulties of reporting sexual assault and opens up about his own abuse that happened at a young age. https://t.co/ebSV6hcbuU pic.twitter.com/eECCp4C2u7— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) September 25, 2018
Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, has the support of many Americans. Meanwhile some people, including the commander-in-chief, think that it is just a smear campaign against Kavanaugh.
Critics of Ford ask if the woman actually did get assaulted in 1982, why then did she not report it at that time and chose to speak out now.
In his show, CNN’s Don Lemon tried explaining how hard it is for sexual assault victims to share their horrific encounters with the help of personal examples. The host said that he was assaulted when he was just 8-years-old and it wasn’t until he turned 30 that he told his mother about what had happened.
“It’s tough to — even now it’s tough,” he said. “I did later write about it in my book and I’ve talked about it since. But it’s never easy.”
He then explained why victims are almost always hesitant of sharing their stories.
“Why is it so hard to talk about? Well, part of it is fear,” Lemon explained. “And part of it is doubt. Will I be believed? Will I be blamed? Will I have evidence? Do I have to relive what happened? Will everyone judge me? And if I speak out will it even matter? I’ve been open about my experience with sexual assault, and I know firsthand that no one ever wants to come forward. Even to family, friends, or loved ones, let alone the entire country.”
The host also shared a story about his cousin and broke down while explaining her ordeal.
“Out of the blue, she texted me and she said, this is a quote, ‘I believe her because I am a product of the ‘Me too’ movement,'” he recalled. “And I texted right back and I said, ‘What? No way. Why didn’t you say anything?’ And she replied, ‘Shame. I thought he loved me.'”
Lemon teared up while narrating his cousin’s story. She was assaulted by her boyfriend.
“And even though it happened then, there is still pain now,” he continued. “And it still matters now. So I’ve been thinking about why she told me this and about why she didn’t tell me sooner. And I’ve been thinking about why these women are coming forward to tell the whole country what they say happened. Knowing that they will be judged.”
The host urged everyone to hear both sides of the story in matters as serious as assault. He said he believed in the concept of innocent until proven guilty but didn’t believe in demoralizing an accuser.
People thanked Lemon for his sensitive yet meaningful disclosure.
Thank you @donlemon . I too have experienced an uncle who sexually assaulted me. I was so scared. When I was in my teens I told my mother. He did the same thing to her but, her sister didn't believe her. I had no hope. I tried to commit suicide at 13. I believe the accusers.— Brenda Vasanski (@brenda_vasanski) September 25, 2018
Thank you so much for explaining why people say #WhyIDidntReport by sharing your survival.— Carole Henson (@CaroleHensonCO) September 25, 2018
I’m so sorry you were sexually assaulted and that it led to trauma, attempted suicide and hopelessness. I hope you see yourself as the survivor you are who is strong and someone to be believed and respected. Thank you for your courage and disclosure. ??— Michelle Santilli (@msantilli03) September 25, 2018
Sending love to you Don. While listening to you speak about your sexual assault, I had a rush of the faces and situations flash thru my mind. Beginning as a child, teenager, young adult I learned to ignore it. I've had years of help thru therapy but the triggers are still there.— Sylvia (Sly) Beachy (@SylviaRBeachy) September 25, 2018
Oooh @donlemon ... I'm literally sitting here crying. Your words tonight were soooo strong and meaningful. For all the people who say #WhyIDidntReport, I truly hope you caught his show tonight. @CNN please please repeat Don's message. Thanks for sharing Don. We love you! xoxox— Can We Be Real Plz (@CanWeBeReal_Plz) September 25, 2018
So true that it often many years if ever that sexual assault is disclosed. I worked as a psychotherapist with survivors of childhood and adolescent sexual abuse and it is common that due to fear, shame or trauma they don't tell or memories are repressed.— Gypsiqueen (@gypsiqueen012) September 25, 2018
I never told anyone until I was 47. I never trusted anyone enough until I met my fiancée. I am 68. To me it is still like it happened yesterday. I was 6 years old when it happened. People who discount it need to experience it firsthand to understand what it means to be violated.— Larry Kauffman (@LarryKauffman16) September 25, 2018
Wow, as per usual Don Lemon puts everything into perspective. I never knew he had experienced that sort of trauma firsthand, that takes real courage to speak out about it.— Andrew Carter (@AussiePunter32) September 25, 2018
There are people all over the country being retraumatized by the way this news story is playing out. Watching these women find their voices after solitarily carrying the burden so long only to be demonized by no less than the #POTUS makes me physically sick. #BelieveSurvivors— May Achieve Clarity (@MayAchieve) September 25, 2018
Survivors stand together! The sad thing is that there is more of us than than not. Seeing you speak tonight was truly touching & reminiscent of my own personal experience. Thank you for speaking up from survivors everywhere. ?????? #metoo #WhyDidntIReport #IStandWithDrFord— Chayce.0 (@Chayce_Is_On) September 25, 2018
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