Why didn't you?
Why didn't you speak up sooner?
Why didn't you just quit your job?
Why didn't you tell your HR department?
Why didn't you just go to the police?
Why did you watch it happen to others and say nothing?
Do you know how painful these questions are to us? How they lift the blame off of the person who did this to us and put it on us? The ones who were violated. The ones who were scared. The ones who froze in the moment they swore they never would. The ones who lost the words in a moment they swore their voices would sound the loudest.
It crushes us to hear those questions.
You know why we didn't speak up sooner?
You know why we didn't just tell our HR departments?
Because sometimes our HR departments are enablers of an already dangerous system. Sometimes they tell us "he didn't mean any harm" and "he's going to change we promise", and we believe them because what other choice do we have? Lose our source of income? Lose access to our healthcare?
You know why we didn't just quit our jobs?
Because we shouldn't have to leave our place of work because a man thought he could put his hands on us.
You know why we didn't just go to the police?
You know why we watched it happen to others and said nothing?
Because as much as we wanted to always "do the right thing" when it actually comes time to walk up to a man who has more power than us and tell him "We know what you're doing. We see it and We're going to tell", our knees knock together, and we feel nauseous and the words get caught in our throats and we give in to our cowardice and we stay silent.
Just like he wanted us to.
And if we do manage to find the courage to tell someone you don't believe us. You ask us why we didn't say anything sooner. Our credibility is called into question.
Just like he wanted you to
You don't believe us when we speak up so why would we speak?
Stop asking us these questions.
Stop asking those of us who are victims and in just as vulnerable positions as the victims why we didn't stand up the menance.
Ask those who didn't have as much to lose as us why they didn't speak up.
Ask those who have more power than us why they propped up these malicious systems.
Ask those whose word is believed automactially based on their gender and color of their skin why they didn't look at what they didn't want to see. Why they avoided seeing what was in front of them so they didn't have to deal with it. Ask them why they stayed silent.
Ask them to examine why we didn't see them as safe allies to confide in.
Ask them why their phrases of support seems to always start with "as a husband and father I find this abhorrant" instead of "as a human being...I find this unaceeptable"
And stop asking us
We're done answering your questions.