President Trump comments yesterday, and the now well-publicized CNN interview with some Republican women who prematurely reject Professor Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh because she had not reported his alleged sexual assault of her, boils my blood.
Have you, your daughter, sister, mother, friend, ever been sexually abused or raped?” Surely, have you or anyone close to you suffered such brutality you would know why most survivors had been reluctant to report such violent attacks, especially before the anti sexual harassment movement #MeToo arose in 2017, with the publicity of Harvey Weinstein’s and other celebrities’ sexual offenses (the phrase Me Too was coined in 2006 by Tarana Burke as part of her drive to empower women of color who have experienced sexual abuse).
When a man who had been as close to me as a brother raped me, I was eleven years older than Christine Margaret Blasey was when she was apparently sexually assaulted.
Physically sickened by the experience I isolated myself for two weeks in my tiny New York City apartment. Like Professor Ford and other women who had suffered similar experiences I felt dirty and shamed. Like many of them I told only a handful of people, the ones closest to me, what had happened. Like them I did not report the crime because I was certain that I would be blamed; that I would not be believed; that I would be raped once again and go through hell in a court room; that I would break my parents’ hearts; and that the rapist, who had a powerful position in the Israeli military, would smear my name or even threaten my life.
It took me twenty-six years to begin to investigate whether I could still press charges against my rapist. I soon learned that by that time he was terminally ill. He died shortly after. It took me much longer to be able to talk about my rape publically, which I normally do in my capacity as a lecturer, a public speaker, and a memoirist.
I know why Professor Ford has not reported her alleged sexual assault thirty-six years ago when she was fifteen, and so should you.
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