10 Powerful Quotes From Books About Sexual Assault & Rape Culture

Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Once again, the nation is talking about sexual assault. Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh is accused of committing sexual misconduct while he was in high school. As the Senate prepares to hear testimony from both parties, Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasely Ford, has been subjected to a litany of dismissive and abusive comments. In a tweet posted Friday morning, President Donald Trump said that if the assault had been "as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities."

If Trump truly wants to know why Ford didn't report the assault immediately, perhaps he should take a moment actually listen to the experiences of people who have survived sexual assault. Countless people have spoken out on social media about their experiences, tweeting their stories with the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport.

I urge you to pay attention to what survivors have said about their experiences. Many of the following quotes from authors express how pervasive the trauma and damage from a sexual assault can be. That pain is undoubtedly still relevant to the victim, no matter how many years have passed.

So, here are 10 quotes from books about being a survivor of sexual assault:

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.

“So many years past being raped, I tell myself what happened is 'in the past.' This is only partly true. In too many ways, the past is still with me. The past is written on my body. I carry it every single day. The past sometimes feels like it might kill me. It is a very heavy burden.”

― Roxane Gay, Hunger

"Since then I've always thought that under rape in the dictionary it should tell the truth. It is not just forcible intercourse; rape means to inhabit and destroy everything.”

― Alice Sebold, Lucky

"I’m afraid the story isn’t finished happening. Sometimes I think there is no entirely true story I could tell. Because there are some things I just don’t know, and other things I just can’t say. Which is not a failure of memory but of language."

― Lacy M. Johnson, The Other Side

"For this entire walk, my desire had ashamed me, as if my wanting to be kissed that night mitigated the fault of Junior's sudden deafness. I'd been given stacks of reasons to blame myself for an act of violence committed by another. I had blamed my flirting for his subsequent felony. My college taught me: my rape was my shame. Everyone I'd trusted asked only what I might have done to let it happen. In my gut, I'd always believed I'd caused it. I finally questioned it.”

“The truth of it is, the shame was not mine, and for all victims in similar situations, it is not ours. The shame is reserved for every creep who has ever touched us inappropriately. The shame is on the abuser, not the victim, not the survivor. It is tragic that so many of us have to survive this kind of crap, and I’m so sorry if it has happened to you.”

― Rose McGowan, Brave

"Women who accuse men, particularly powerful men, of harassment are often confronted with the reality of the men’s sense that they are more important than women, as a group.”

― Anita Hill, Speaking Truth to Power

"Blaming the victim is an act of refuge and self-deception. It allows the blamer to sit in judgment, imagining some mystical justice that means bad things happen only to bad people, thus ensuring their own safety.”

“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?”

― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

"'But if you ever hear about it, don’t worry,' he said, his words a little slurred by drink. 'Alexandria’s the only one who remembers it.' On the stairs, I froze. My family had always been silent about the abuse. But no one had ever implied that it hadn’t happened. My father kept talking. This moment that had changed everything inside me had changed nothing for him.”

― Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir

“I was too trusting, too naive. I felt like it was all my fault. It would take me years to accept what now seems obvious: rape is not a punishment for poor judgement.”