President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the third day of his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Picture: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Washington - A year into the current era of #MeToo and we're still having this conversation: Survivors of rape and sexual assault are again explaining why they didn't report these acts of violence right after they happened.

The reasons are many: Shame. Confusion. Denial. Fear. Intimidation and lack of power. Concern that no one would believe them, that nothing would be done, or that the victims themselves would be blamed. Most survivors of sexual assault do not report such incidents to authorities right away. A 2015 survey from The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 12 percent of female college students who experienced an assault or attempted assault reported it.

On Friday, the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport went viral, with Twitter users explaining why they didn't report an assault they experienced. The stories streamed out after President Donald Trump's tweet questioning why Christine Blasey Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in Northern California, didn't immediately report the alleged attack she recently said occurred at a high school party in the 1980s. Ford says that a drunk, teenage Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, leaving her fearful that he "might inadvertently kill her," while Kavanaugh has said that the accusations are "completely false."

Trump's tweet read: "I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"

Ford has not indicated that she filed charges. She told a Post reporter recently that she recalled thinking, at the time of the party: "I'm not ever telling anyone this. This is nothing, it didn't happen, and he didn't rape me." But the effects lingered: In 2012, Ford described the event in couples therapy with her husband; portions of the therapist's notes have been reviewed by The Post.

Within a few hours of Trump's tweet, victims of rape and sexual assault explained just how hard it is to come forward about such incidents right after they happen - and how difficult it can be to prosecute afterward. Trump's tweet was slammed for being tone-deaf and ignorant of the obstacles facing survivors in coming forward about such incidents, immediately or even decades after the fact. Using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, survivors shared their stories. Here are a few of them, beginning with a colleague of mine:

"I was 17. Raped by a friend. I was confused. In denial. Afraid. His parents were richer & better connected than my parents. He was a 'good' student. Ppl liked him. The only friend I told-responded w: 'He wld never do that.' I didn't think anyone would help me."

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"Because there were no avenues for holding him accountable that didn't involve the police.

"Because I told myself it wasn't 'bad enough.'

"Because it was gutting to admit - even to myself - that I was assaulted."

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"When I was 16, I had pretty much the same experience as Ford. My (supportive & loving) parents still don't know. At the time, I thought I might get in trouble for being there in the first place & also I was embarrassed & wanted badly to just forget. I never did."

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"Because my boyfriend told me he would actually kill me if I left him or if I told anyone and when someone beats you, you believe them. I didn't want to die."

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Men told their stories as well as women. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, one in 10 rape victims is male.

"He was the nephew of my father's girlfriend at the time & was older & stronger than me. It started when I was 7 & I thought he'd hurt me more & that nobody would believe me. It took 4 years to break the silence. He was abusing other kids too, I later found out."

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"I was living in a time when someone who identified as a gay teenager would NOT be taken seriously by the police.

"I believed that I would be mocked & ridiculed for being gay.

"I also felt it was MY fault.

"I didn't think they would believe me."

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"#whyididntreportbecause I was little boy and 'girls can't assault boys' was a social narrative. Little did I know she was acting out because she was a victim too."

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Some described how they did report their assaults, but that's only the first step. Following up by pressing charges can entail lengthy legal fights and cause further trauma.

"I did report. I went to the hospital and the SVU in Brooklyn and told them what happened to me.

"They told me what I described was a rape. I was starting law school in 3 weeks so I decided not to press charges. Biggest mistake of my life."

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"It's a sad state in America when this is trending & women have to come forward to justify why they didn't call the law after an attack

"I did call

"They called it mischief

"I slept with a knife"

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Amid the stories of lack of action, there were a rare few like this one, where, fortuitously, justice was served.

"For me, it was only a non-violent attempt but I said nothing because he was my coach and I idolized him and thought it was my fault for wearing shorts. (He is now in prison because 20 years later, a 14 yo DID tell and was believed.)"