Why Now?

We hear it so often in our line of work: Why didn’t she report this sexual assault when it happened? Why is she just telling us about this now? Why can’t she just get over it and move on?

Fair questions, all of them. And while every situation is unique, let’s talk about a few common reasons why someone would choose to not report unwanted sexual attention immediately and then decide months, years or even decades later to come forward with their much-kept secret.


Approximately 1 in 4 women in the United States will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. YIKES! If you’re reading this, chances are you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or assault. It might be something no one knows about, but it happened, none-the-less.

MOST sexual assaults (this could be groping, rape, etc.) come from someone the victim knows. In fact, national studies tell us approximately 82% of all sexual assaults are non-stranger. So that means these assaults are coming from our peers, family members, friends, co-workers, supervisors, classmates, teammates, teachers, etc. Sometimes, because it’s someone we know who is assaulting us, it can make it difficult to recognize it as assault. And in general, women hold themselves responsible for unwanted sexual attention even though it is never the victim’s fault, no matter what they were wearing, drinking, saying or what had previously consensually happened in the relationship.

According to a 2016 EEOC report, 85% of working women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. And to be clear, men are victims of sexual assault and harassment as well, but many times find it difficult to report due to social stigmas.

Overall, chances are you’ve been assaulted or know someone close to you who has been assaulted. If so many people have experienced the same terrible thing, why aren’t we talking about it then?


Over the past two months we’ve seen story after story of men in powerful positions taking advantage of their rank. These men have preyed on hard-working women who were trying to achieve their career goals. The fear of reporting the actions of these revered men could be overwhelming to anyone.

The fear is real, and unfortunately many times there are not systems in place to truly negate the fear, or protect the victim. It’s time for that to change.


We’ve always said as an agency, that sexual assault is such a unique crime where the victim carries more guilt than the perpetrator. Why? Sexual assault is not about lust, desire, or sexual attraction. Sexual assault is about power and control. When perpetrators abuse their power and assert it over a victim, they typically will also convince their victim it was somehow just a case of miscommunication.

Once again, it is NEVER a victim’s fault. If a person who has power over another person (ex: Supervisor and employee, coach and athlete, etc.) it can be confusing and difficult to report inappropriate behavior or say ‘no’. Should you report this behavior, will it make the perpetrator angry, will you lose your job or your spot on the team? Will you be able to find another without a good recommendation from your last supervisor? All critical things to think about.


Should a victim of sexual assault consider reporting the inappropriate behavior, what does that mean? Survivors of assault have a lot of questions, and need to think about what is best for them and their family. Working with a trained expert, like a WCA Advocate can help survivors better understand the system and options available to them in order to make the best plan for them.


So once again, if 85% of working women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, and 1 in 4 women will experience sexual violence, why are we still so shocked about the fact that sexual assault is happening here in Omaha? We have chosen to disbelieve, to not engage, and most of all, to just stay quiet. Now is the time to change that.

The WCA offers services not only to victims of sexual assault, but also to the community at large. While our advocates are supporting our clients with safety services, our attorneys are representing WCA clients in court, our therapists are counseling and providing cutting-edge support, and our case managers are coaching clients to develop long-term goals and skill development, our prevention and education team is here to serve YOU.

Our team can present to any group about domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and stalking, we can help human resource departments build support systems for employees experiencing violence at home. We can educate students about healthy relationships and boundaries, and we can help businesses build policies to eliminate sexual harassment and violence within their place of business. 

You can contact our prevention and education team here.


SO next time you have the desire to ask “Why now? Why is she just coming out now with this story,” change your question. Start asking yourself, “Why now, in 2017, are so many people still being impacted by sexual violence?” And then ask yourself, “What am I going to do about it?”

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