Doctor Christine Blasey Ford is just one of many who recently come forward with a story about sexual assault.
While some are willing to speak about their experiences, others suffer in silence after an attack.
Studies show more than 60 percent of sexual assaults in the United States are never reported.
Psychologist Sunshine Collins says, in her experience, a lot of these people stay silent because they’re dealing with fear, shame and guilt after this kind of experience.
“I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help,” said Dr. Blasey Ford during Senate hearing.
“I was robbed of my ability to dream for my future,” said Whitney Burns, who testified at the sentencing of Dr. Larry Nassar. He was convicted of sexually abusing gymnasts under the guise of treatment.
Survivors often share experiences of fear and shame.
“This is what terrified me the most and has had the biggest impact on my life,” said Dr. Blasey Ford.
These feelings can top the list for anyone after an attack.
“A lot of people have a real change of their feelings of security and safety, and also a little bit of change in perception of themselves,” Dr. Collins said.
She said a terrifying event takes a toll for a very long time.
“Individuals that have been sexually assaulted can feel that they have been marked in some way, that they have been changed by that experience, and they often don’t want other people to see that.”
As more victims tell their stories, others suffer in silence.
“They don’t want other people to know about what may very well be the worst day of their life,” she said.
All dealing with the devastating flashbacks that follow.
“In the moment they felt powerless, they didn’t feel like they had options, but when they start looking back, they think, oh well maybe I missed an opportunity to avoid this.”
But Collins says when a loved is willing to share, it’s important to listen and keep offering support.
“Maybe the thing they needed from you today, is one way, but you can ask them again next week and say how can I be supporting you this week?”
While recognizing the tremendous courage it takes to come forward.
“The details about that night that bring me here today are the ones I will never forget,” Dr. Blasey Ford said.
“I used to blame myself,” said one victim at the Dr. Nassar sentencing.
Doctor Collins says when someone does share their story every person will have different needs. She says the best course of action is to ask how you can help.
She also spoke of the trauma that goes with reporting an assault after the fact.