When a survivor shares his story after being silent for years, people often say, "Well, if it was so bad, why did not you report it? It's the worst thing you can say to a survivor, Velasquez says. Not only do many people face significant barriers to reporting (such as the risk of being fired or the fear of being deported if they are unlawful), but many fear that one will just do not believe them.
While current conversations around sexual assault are largely celebrity centered, the most vulnerable people to sexual assault are those who occupy the least visible positions in society, says Velasquez . Some examples: American Indians are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted or raped compared to all other races, according to RAINN, and 47% of transgender people are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, according to the US Transgender Survey Report.
"Immigrants, LGBTQ people, economically disadvantaged people, young people, people with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities and sex workers are all too often excluded from the conversation," says Velasquez. "We need to raise all voices by recognizing that these groups have higher barriers to reporting and helping them to be heard too."