The vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been delayed by the accusation from a woman who says he sexually assaulted her when they were teens. Many have questioned why Christine Blasey ford waited decades to tell her story. WMAR 2 News spoke to a survivor and a professional who say many victims wait years, even decades, before coming forward.
"I was silent for years," Kellie Silver, told WMAR 2 News.
Silver has since broken that silence.
"We were in a car and that's when he attacked me, in the back of a car and he said you better not tell anybody."
She now enjoys life with family but it took more than 40 years for her story of sexual abuse by someone she trusted to come out.
"It's such a traumatic experience initially, you just don't want to go through being victimized again later down the road," Silver said.
"The decision to disclose a sexual assault is an incredibly personal decision and it depends a lot of how supported the survivor feels and how much they feel like their life will be turned upside down if they come forward," said Director of Programs and Clinical Services with House of Ruth Maryland, Janie Miller, said.
Reasons why Silver could never bear to come forward before.
"There were threats like you better not tell anybody if you tell someone they're not going to believe you, you're not worth anything," said Silver.
Miller said, "Victims, in particular, feel fear, they feel a loss of control."
Or even a sense of blame or shame that forces them to speak out.
"People come forward and the first questions that are asked is why were you there? What were you doing? How did you contribute to this?
A that mirrors the same fears silver had before she could lead a normal life.
"I got tired of living behind the shadow of feeling ugly and unclean and not good enough. "I feel free I finally feel free. It took all these years no one knew that inside I was dying," Silver said.
For now, fear has been replaced with laughter but Silver wants survivors to know they have a voice.
"As long as you're silent that person wins."