Although there’s an argument to be made that going to the press before the cops can reduce a person’s credibility in front of a jury, Jane Anderson, an attorney advisor at AEquitas…said stories with large numbers of sources help shift public opinion about how victims behave. The idea is that if regular people learn through exposure in the press and pop culture that victims are frequently too intimidated to speak with police right after an incident, they might ultimately serve as jurors who are sympathetic to the idea that victims came forward years or decades later.
Anderson added that by speaking out in significant numbers, victims can also make others who have blocked out their abuse realize that they aren’t crazy—and come forward with their own secrets. “Trauma tricks your brain into thinking the trauma wasn’t as serious as it was or that an assault didn’t happen,” Anderson told me. “If someone else says it happened to them, it validates what they experienced. The [efficacy] of crowdsourcing makes sense to me.”