#WhyIDidntReport Is A Gut-Wrenching Response To Trump’s Attack on Ford’s Credibility

Ting Shen/ZUMA

For the first time since Christine Blasey Ford came forward with sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump on Friday openly suggested that Ford’s account may not be credible—a clear end to the uncharacteristically measured response Trump had initially taken after Ford’s detailed account was published in the Washington Post Sunday—because Ford did not report the incident when it allegedly occurred more than 30 years ago when Ford and Kavanaugh were teenagers.

Democratic lawmakers and advocates of sexual assault victims instantly condemned the president’s direct challenge to Ford’s accusations, as it displayed a failure to grasp long-established understandings of survivor trauma and the emotional and institutional difficulties survivors face in holding their attackers accountable.

Trump’s evolving stance on Ford—which adds to his record of defending men like Kavanaugh who have been similarly accused of misconduct—spurred a wave of women to publicize their experiences with sexual assault and explain their decisions not to report their attackers. The stories included some women who explained what went wrong when they did try to report their assaults.

The powerful display of solidarity came as conservatives continue trying to discredit Ford’s credibility, through conspiracy theories of mistaken identity and Democratic plots to kill Kavanaugh’s nomination. Others have dismissed Ford as “mixed up.” 

Shortly after Trump’s tweets on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to hammer through Kavanaugh’s nomination process, with or without Ford’s testimony. Trump and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee continue to deny Ford’s calls for an FBI investigation to look into her accusations.