Why New Yorkers didn’t report: Victims explain silence on sexual abuse

The "#WhyIDidntReport" templates have been posted in subway stations, including Union Square.
The "#WhyIDidntReport" templates have been posted in subway stations, including Union Square. Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto / Alex Potemkin

More than 1,000 white flyers posted around the city are asking New Yorkers to share the reasons why they didn’t report their sexual assaults. 

The flyers were created by School of Visual Arts students Ha Jung Song and Bowook Yoon in the wake of accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

When Song and Yoon saw tweets from President Donald Trump that appeared to put blame on victims for not reporting sexual assaults right after they happen, “it shocked them,” their professor Thomas Shim said. 

Their shock led them to create a template for people to share their reasons for not reporting. 

“The problem is that their stories are not being heard,” Shim said. “It’s easy to point a finger and say, ‘Why didn’t you report it earlier?’ but there’s a deeper, complicated reason why they didn’t.”

The idea is for people to take a picture of the template – found at subway stations, on lampposts and other public places – and share their story on Instagram. Song and Yoon have been posting submissions on a page set up for the project (@whyididntreportit). 

The reasons include “Because people would believe him more” and “Because when I told to an adult, she said he is a nice old man.” 

One of the flyers was spotted Friday afternoon inside the Union Square subway station in Manhattan.

"I’ve never been personally victimized nor had friends that were, but I believe females today must report when they’re being attacked or assaulted," Marta Grinkowsky of Brooklyn said while considering the flyer. "No one should ever have to hide and feel like no one else understands."

With Kayla Simas