There is also a moral and ethical obligation with recognizing what happened to you and the power you wield from your ability to accuse. If I stumbled upon the man who raped me, as I have often thought about, could I accuse him in public? Could I shout his name and the crime he committed against me that has redefined my concept of intimacy, autonomy, and lifelong health?
The answer is no, because I cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the man in front of me would be guilty of the crime I’d accuse him of, and he would be utterly defenseless to my accusation. I do not have the right to name a person, turn his life upside down, and ruin his reputation. It’s not because I am not entitled to justice but because I am simply unable to prove an assumed innocent man is guilty.
Survivors should be listened to. Our stories matter, and I have tried with more energy than I thought possible to share mine for the good of others, awareness, and honest debate. But I draw the line at accusation. My window to accuse closed before I even had the awareness to know it was an option, but that is reality.