“Why would someone wait this long to report their story? When police stations are in place and there are laws to protect survivors, why won’t they utilise these avenues?” It makes logical sense. After all, these entities exist with the sole purpose of protecting these women.
However, the questions reek of ignorance and privilege. The intricacies of sexual trauma demonstrate how the social, economic and political spots occupied by the survivor can have implications on their physical and mental health.
When an individual is subjected to sexual trauma, their body senses danger. The most natural response is a stress response, a.k.a. ‘fight-flight-freeze’. A stress response is the body’s way of protecting itself. The autonomic nervous system moves blood to our arms and legs so we can combat the danger we’re about to face. Freezing is a stress response such that, when the body and brain feel so overwhelmed by the attack, any hope of escape is drastically weakened, causing the body to become stilled.