These tweets show why people don't report sexual assaults

Updated 1:51 PM ET, Fri September 21, 2018

(CNN)There's no standard way survivors talk about sexual assault. It isn't always a police phone call and a rape kit; sometimes it's years of silence. Sometimes it trickles out, little by little, and then all at once; like a dam that swells and breaks and floods.

Part of it is fear: Will I be believed, these women and men think. Part of it is doubt, sown by social mores that seem eager to excuse the inexcusable: Was it something I should just accept?
When they do talk, sometimes years later, a question reflexively arises. It's a question that was posed, more or less, by the President of the United States, to a woman who alleges a current Supreme Court nominee held her down at a high school party and tried to assault her: Why didn't you speak up earlier?
In response, people on Twitter have been sharing their reasons for not speaking up about their own assaults.

They're afraid of repercussions

It's something victims grapple with a lot: the anguish and terror about retaliation. It's one reason that Christine Blasey Ford -- the woman who accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct -- said she kept silent for years.

They are made to feel it's their fault

It happens over and over again: Victims say that when they do speak up, they are met with judgment and not support. "What were you wearing?" they're asked. "How much were you drinking?"

They're told to dismiss it

Many times, a victim will confide in someone, only to be told not to pursue it any further.

They are often the ones who were blamed

The perpetrator -- and many times, the victim's own family members -- make them feel like they "deserved it."

They're afraid they would be asked for more evidence

The attack is traumatic enough. Victims are often asked to relive it by recounting it in excruciating detail.