Why sexual trauma survivors come forward in numbers: "The Snowball Effect, explained"

When truth is stranger than fiction, so many of us may have the urge to turn and run. Some questions offer no comforting explanations: "How do people who we trust more deeply than our family betray us?" "Why do the most selfless people often die before their lives are complete, and leave a wake of loss in the beauty of their life?" As a therapist and a human, I am constantly struggling with the balance between providing space, empathy, and answers versus acknowledging that some questions really may not have a solution; no way to right the wrongs. 

However, some questions do have answers, and these answers need to be shared.

This is how I felt when I was recently approached by a journalist from Mic.com to help her provide an answer to the question, "Why do sexual assault survivors often come forward in numbers, such as in the case of Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, and most recently, Alec Cook?"

Spoiler alert: This is not a baffling social phenomenon. This is not a case of "monkey see, money do." This is not the instance of a woman "getting even" with a man who has wronged her in some pedestrian way. 

Finding safety in numbers following a sexual assault is a troubling combination of fear, social stigma and victim blaming....It also very much the humbling importance of self-preservation and restoring a sense of safety and self, which is a fundamental right. A man or woman's choice to report their perpetrator is just that: their choice. And for some, the time may come to do so only when others have displayed a similar bravery and paved the way for society to really listen.  

Read the full article here on my thoughts on "the snowball effect," explained, and let's collectively start listening to one voice, ten voices, or one hundred voices, in whatever quantity, shape, or detail they may come to us in.