sexual harassment vocabulary
This message gets lost in the #MeToo movement
01:29 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Last year, Alyssa Milano helped popularize the #MeToo movement with a simple tweet.

Now, the actress and activist has added her voice to a related hashtag movement, #WhyIDidntReport, to explain why she did not report her sexual assault to police about 30 years ago.

Alyssa Milano

“It took me years after my assault to voice the experience to my closest friends,” Milano wrote in a first-person piece for Vox. “It took me three decades to tell my parents that the assault had even happened. I never filed a police report. I never told officials. I never tried to find justice for my pain because justice was never an option.

“For me, speaking up meant reliving one of the worst moments of my life. It meant recognizing my attacker’s existence when I wanted nothing more than to forget that he was allowed to walk on this Earth at all,” she wrote.

Milano’s story comes as part of a movement that arose in response to President Donald Trump’s criticisms of Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who has accused Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

Trump questioned the validity of her allegations in a tweet, saying that “if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.”

Since then, victims of assault have come forward under the #WhyIDidntReport hashtag to explain why they didn’t speak up about their assaults earlier. Their stories variously told of their fear of being dismissed, fear of repercussions, self-blame or a desire to forget and move on.

In her first-person story, Milano said that Trump’s statement “chilled me to my core.”

“Far too many of us know that what President Trump said is simply not true,” she wrote. “Victims of sexual assault often don’t report what happened because they know all too well that our stories are rarely taken seriously or believed — and that when it comes to sexual misconduct, our justice system is broken.”

Milano, who appeared on “Who’s the Boss?” and “Charmed,” also said she believes Blasey Ford and called on senators to reject Kavanaugh’s nomination.

“Every person who refuses to loudly and openly reject Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is telling every generation of Americans that an alleged abuser’s career is more valuable than a survivor’s humanity,” she wrote.