The majority of sexual assault victims don’t acknowledge that they were raped right away, if ever. The fear of stigma is part of it – but so is the body’s automatic response to trauma. Probably for the same reasons that nearly 80 percent of rapes and sexual assaults go unreported in the US. The numbers are dramatically higher in underdeveloped countries like Ethiopia. The reality is, it’s very common for sexual assault survivors to decline to report the offense to police. Survivors worry about retaliation — not just from the perpetrator, but from society at large. Others say the police would not do anything to help and family and friends will shame them.
Sexual assault survivors struggle with a wide range of emotions that make coming forward difficult: fear of revictimization, distortion of allegations, and generally not being believed. For all these reasons, unreported assaults are all too common. Once in awhile, there are young women like Hindeke Daniel. Who are brave and strong and lucky enough to get support from their family members.
Hindeke was 18, her rapist was 60 something. He is a father of a well known celebrity in Ethiopia. In the video below, she tells her journey to the court system and all the challenges she faced, and what she hopes to see change.