I was sexually assaulted — raped — in my early 20s. It's not something I've come to terms with (if one ever does) until recently. Though the incident occurred nearly two decades ago, I finally told my husband of eight years, my mom and a few close friends within the past few months.
Some memories feel better when they are forgotten, for one’s own sanity. And being a man, it's a bit more difficult to reveal these things. Men are supposed to be totally strong and never show their feelings. Victims are sissies.
I am opening up about this now because sexual abuse is unacceptable however it may occur — and to whomever. Tragically, this is a message too many still have not received; how else would you explain our government confirming an accused sexual predator to the highest court in the land last week? I am grateful to the powerful and courageous women who have spoken out and built the #MeToo movement. Without their strength I would not be able to share my own difficult story.
My rapist was a gym teacher in Harford County; I was not his student. I was a young business reporter for a daily newspaper based in Baltimore.
I went to his home with a dear friend. We had a few drinks and watched a movie. All was fine. As I lived in Baltimore City at the time (and I hate driving at night), he extended an offer to stay over. My friend lived close by, with his parents, and had to work in the morning. He left, and I stayed.
The guy and I had a night cap, and that's the last I remember until waking up to the actual rape. I'm certain I was drugged with that final drink. I will not provide specific details, to spare my family. Suffice it to say it was akin to waking up during a nightmare. Yet, the pain and fear were reality.
This man is now a registered sex offender, having been convicted in 2010 of criminal sexual contact with a minor in middle school. I wish I would have spoken with the authorities before this man felt entitled to take advantage of a young kid.
But even now, at 37, it is indeed difficult to reveal what occurred many years ago. I I still feel ashamed, embarrassed and as if I should have done something to stop the incident. I ask myself questions: Did I do something to cause this? Why did I stay? What happened to the young boy who later became his victim?
Christine Blasey Ford's recent statements about her own alleged sexual assault by the recently confirmed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when they were teens have made me feel empowered and reassured. She stands for all of us — men, women and children, all those who have been victims of abuse.
But the nation apparently was not ready to listen. We already have one sexual predator who temporarily lives in the White House, and now we may have another who will reside in the Supreme Court, for life.
Those 50 votes in the Senate for Brett Kavanaugh were votes for injustice and an insult to those of us who have encountered sexual violence.