On The Real today, host Jeannie Mai told her own story of #WhyIDidntReport amid the conversation about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, which has created a national dialogue about why women don’t go to the police to report rape and other sexual assault cases. In Mai’s case, she was sexually abused by a family member for four years starting at age 9.
Page Six reveals that Mai’s story was honest and touching, and shared a personal perspective on why people don’t report sexual assault as a means of understanding where Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, is coming from, staying quiet for over 30 years. Like Dr. Ford, Mai was assaulted by someone she knew.
“As a person who was sexually assaulted at a young age by somebody very close to me, I remember the trifecta that I would continuously process which is: fear, anger, shame, fear, anger, shame. Fear: What’s going to happen to our family if I say something and out this person? Anger: Why did you just sit there? Why did you let this go on for four years? What’s wrong with you?”
Mai’s circumstance was complicated by the fact that her aggressor was a loved one.
She says the sexual assaults went on for four years https://t.co/YISOsrBhX2
— New York Post (@nypost) September 24, 2018
Mai explains that people tend to have a better idea about what to do when the person harming them is a stranger, but it’s confusing to adults, let alone children, when the perpetrator is someone who is known to you.
“There’s a little bit of a Stockholm Syndrome in there too because if somebody who’s a stranger did it to me, oh I know what to do. I know how to wile out, I got that down, but when it’s somebody you trust, somebody you know that you actually are supposed to love or believe in, you just freeze.”
Mai says she finally found the courage to talk about her abuse two years after it stopped, but she stresses that it doesn’t matter on what schedule you speak out, it’s a personal matter, and it doesn’t make the narrative about your experience any less valid.
“But if it took me two years or it took me 20 years, it does not invalidate what happened to me.”
On the show, Mai told co-host Adrienne Bailon that the person was a family member, but she didn’t get any more specific about the person’s identity, says People Magazine.
In the past on the show, Bailon has spoken out on being sexually harassed in the music industry when she was a minor.