President Donald Trump has called into question whether Christine Blasey Ford was actually attacked by Brett Kavanaugh during their high school years and argued if the allegation was real, the professor would have reported it at the time.
As a result, victims of assault have been sharing their unreported stories online with the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport.
And people agree that that’s a problem. Two-thirds say that real experiences of sexual harassment or assault that aren’t reported is a bigger problem than false accusations that are made, according to data by the Public Religion Research Institute released in March.
There are stark partisan and gender divides on this attitude, according to PRRI. A third of men say that false accusations are a more pressing issue, compared to only 21% of all women. On one side you have Republican men, of whom 47% thought that unreported assaults was a bigger problem compared to 41% who considered false accusations to be the issue.
Sixty-nine percent of Democratic men and 84% of Democratic women saw unreported sexual harassment or assault as a bigger problem than untrue allegations. Republican women sat in the middle, with similar numbers to the overall population – 58% said unreported assault is more concerning than the 32% who said false accusations are the bigger issue.
A majority of Americans in the PRRI survey felt sexual harassment claims are not just the result of “misunderstandings” with only 27% who agree and 69% who disagree with that idea. Younger people are more likely to say that sexual harassment claims aren’t just a misunderstanding, with 73% who say that they’re not and two-thirds of Americans over the age of 65 in the same camp.
In separate poll done by Pew Research in April, almost half of Americans – 46% said that women not being believed when they claim that they have experienced sexual harassment or assault is a “major problem.” A third said that it’s a minor problem with 18% who thought it wasn’t a problem at all.
Pew also asked respondents if they personally have ever received unwanted sexual advances or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Six-in-ten women said they have compared to a quarter of men.