Posts Tagged ‘sexual assault’

Me Too: Why Women Hesitate to Speak Up

Watching the Kavanaugh hearing this morning is difficult for me, as was the Clarence Thomas vs. Anita Hill testimonies. It is resurrecting memories from an evening in the 1970s when I had an unfortunate encounter with a person in an authoritative position who I once thought was a friend. As I tussled with him and told him numerous times to stop, I interjected what I thought would jog him to his senses, “I will report you to the police.” “Go ahead,” he sneered. “Do you think they will believe you or me?” The only thing I know that stopped the attempted rape was my silent prayers to God, because for no other reason that I can think of my perpetrator suddenly released me and left. I never talked to or saw him again after that. But if he is ever a candidate for a prominent position and I have the opportunity I would indeed speak up about his character as I remember it that evening.

Until this day, the only person I ever told about that incident was my best friend. I didn’t even tell my mother. Sadly, my confidant died a few years ago. I will always remember and appreciate when I telephoned him, in tears, and told him what had happened how supportive he was. “Report him to the police. Right now. I will go with you.” He said. I was a young, divorced mother of two, and as Dr. Ford said, “terrified” so I never reported the attempted sexual assault.

Because I didn’t report it, doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. So for the holier-than-thou women and men who might be judging Dr. Ford (and other women in the me-too movement), I say this. Women do not forget things like that. Not in days, weeks, years, or decades. The terror of such an encounter never leaves you. So, if you are a woman or man standing in judgment, I pray that you are never a victim of an assault of any kind.

Whenever I hear about women, who have been assaulted and remained silent because they felt that they would not be believed I feel like crying.

Decades ago, one of my cousins was raped in her junior high school. My mother told me about the attack, and I’ve never forgotten that conversation. I was shocked that such a thing could happen inside a public school and more surprised that it could happen to someone I knew. At that time you didn’t hear about things like that occurring inside a school. Although my cousin and I are occasionally in touch, I have never mentioned it to her, but I do not doubt that she is still dealing with it. I will not name her here. If she chooses to tell about the incident, it is her story to tell, and I will leave that to her.

As Former Prosecutor, Cynthia Alksne said on MSNBC this morning, during a break in the hearing, “When you are the victim you remember the trauma.”