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Reporting an act of assault is a tricky thing. Let's talk about the pros and cons of reporting sexual violence. From law enforcement to school officials, we delve into the difficult decision of whether disclosure is the right choice for you.

THIS WEEK'S CALL TO ACTION: Share your thoughts and experiences around reporting. Why does society struggle so much with understanding a victim's choices? If you've got experience with reporting and are comfortable sharing, what factored into your decision to report or not report your assault? Use the hashtag #EngageUplift and let us know!

Engage by Uplift tackles the difficult issues surrounding sexual abuse that the YouTube and online communities face. We're starting real talk for real change.

Each week, our host Kat Lazo discusses abuse and how it manifests in virtual spaces. Watch and collaborate with us through weekly calls to action, and join in with some of your favorite YouTubers as they consider the issues in round table discussions.

Hosted by Kat Lazo:

Directed and written by Kelly Kend:

Real talk for Real Change. #EngageUplift
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Kat: What's up loves? I'm your host Kat Lazo, and welcome to another episode of Engage by Uplift, a video series aimed at having real talk for real change when it comes to sexual assault.

If you have been sexually assaulted, one of the many things will run through your mind is "When are you going to report it to the police, to your school, or another type of authority?" Your friends, your family, or significant other may have opinions on how you should proceed but ultimately it's up to you.

What are some pros and cons to reporting? The most obvious reason to report is to seek out justice. After all if you were violated when the police or the school should investigate and take action. When the system works correctly, violent and dangerous criminals are held accountable for their actions. The police are meant to protect and serve the community but many folks don't trust the police to do a good job.

For many black and brown folks, the police are actually a hostile presence. In some cases the police themselves might minimize what has happened to you or refused to investigate at all. Or in my personal experience, the police officers themselves may make sexual advances at you while you're trying to report a case. And just like police officers, if you go to a school administrator there's a chance that that person is not well trained to deal with sexual assault and therefore they could say things that make the situation even worse.

Some people chose to report because they want to create a record for the perpetrator. This record will help if the same perpetrator attacks someone else because it will reveal a violent pattern. Even if one survivor can't bring a case all the way through the system, having a report could help someone else.

Another reason why survivors may choose not to report is because dealing with police or university may actually add to the trauma. Any investigation requires that the survivor tell their story multiple times to multiple people. Reliving a bad experience like that is painful for anyone but for survivors of traumatic events, telling the story can re-traumatize them causing psychological distress.

For some survivors, making a report comes with the benefit of emotionally knowing that you are taking action. Reporting can be a really powerful way of gaining control back over your life and your body. It can be an action that reaffirms that they didn't ask for this and they didn't deserve this and that something needs to be done because what happened wasn't ok.

There is no guarantee that your perpetrator will be found guilty so that's a lot of work and a lot of pain to go through for an uncertain result. Rape and assault are often crimes that don't leave a lot of hard evidence and often come down to one person's word against another. There's a low conviction rate in the criminal justice system and there are numerous incidents of sexual assault on campus that goes to show you that universities fail at handling these cases as well.

Regardless of who or where you report to, we still live in a society that is very much sexist, racist, heteronormative, misogynist, and those things impact the outcome of an investigation. For this week's call to action, we wanted to encourage you all to share your thoughts and experiences with reporting. Why do you think it is that society struggles so much with understanding a victim's choices, such as reporting or not reporting. if you're a survivor of assault or abuse and you feel comfortable enough sharing what were some of the biggest factors in your decision to report or not report? If you'd like to share your thoughts and/or experiences, as always use the hashtag #engageuplift on social media, and of course, we'll be in the comments down below.

Why would you report to your college but not the police? Colleges have an obligation to ensure that all students have an equal access to education. This means that if you were assaulted, they are required to get you what you need in order to feel safe on campus and to finish your classes. If your attacker is in one of your classes, there's a possibility that you couldn't work something out with a professor in order to continue taking the course and avoid your attacker. If you don't report but you still want to avoid your attacker, it would become the burden of the survivor to pay for new housing or even eat the cost of dropping out.

Unlike the criminal justice system, colleges have the ability to act quickly in response to reports, and ease the emotional and financial burden of survivors. Though I've mentioned previously many universities are still failing at holding predators accountable. Make sure to check out some of the stories of the folks who are fighting against sexual violence on campus in the description box down below.

What about reporting to a high school teacher? If you are under 18 you are below the age of consent in most states. If you report an assault to some type of authority at your school like a guidance counselor or teacher they are most likely mandatory reporters that will have to alert the police. When a mandatory reporter makes their report, they'll share your story with the police but your identity will remain confidential.

If you do decide to report, it's a good idea to have a strong support network in place. School administrators, police, lawyers, judges - they're not always equipped to support survivors in the aftermath of an assault. Having the help of someone that you know and that you trust can be really important when navigating the system. If you do want to report, please check the description box down below on what to expect as part of the process.

Alright folks that's it for today. Thank you so much for watching. If you like this video give it a thumbs up and don't forget to subscribe and let's continue the conversation on social media using the hashtag EngageUplift. I'll see you there and I'll see you in the comments down below. Don't forget to comment! And while you're down there make sure to check out the Description box down below for more information on uplift and any and all resources that we mentioned in the video. Till next time, I'm Kat Lazo of TheeKatsMeoww. Bye!