Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Women of Park Forest have their own #MeToo stories to tell about sexual assault, rape, and why many of them never reported the attacks they allege were committed against them years ago. Men and some some women asked how any woman would not go public if she suffered sexual assault, rape. President Trump appeared dismissive of Dr. Christing Blasey Ford’s allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh when he released the following statement on Twitter, “I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!”
And so, Dr. Ford found herself an unwilling participant in a high-stakes hearing Thursday. This was not a trial. This was a job interview. Mr. Kavanaugh is applying for a job. Dr. Ford testified today before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee that she was “100% certain” that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were in high school.
For his part, Brett Kavanaugh at times cried, yelled, and vehemently denied any and all accusations of sexual assault. But many women of Park Forest understand the reticence Dr. Ford felt about coming forward at all. Dr. Ford said she did not wish for her allegations to be made public. She shared her allegations against Brett Kavanaugh in a letter to U.S. Senatior Dianne Feinstein, but Senator Feinstein never released the letter. It appears from the end of the hearing today that someone Dr. Ford confided in personally leaked the assault charge to the media.
Was President Trump correct when he said, ” If the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents?” Or is it common for victims of sexual assault to remain silent?
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, reported a 148% jump in the number of calls they received Thursday during the 9-hour hearing of Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. Late Thursday, their website said, “We are experiencing unprecedented wait times for our online chat. If you are able, we encourage you to call 800.656.HOPE (4673) or reach out via chat tomorrow. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.”
We learned much in Park Forest when one woman opened up on Facebook about a rape she said she endured more than three decades ago.
And a litany of women responded: #MeToo!
Author’s Note: Please note I use the words “allege” numerous times. This is not a comment or judgment on the veracity of any of the stories these women tell. Everything these fine women say is alleged. They are allegations. I personally believe them. But I have to report what they said. I can’t report that they’re true. They say they’re true. That’s enough for me personally.
Elisabeth’s #MeToo Story
Elisabeth Brecher was the first to open up, starting a thread on social media. We use her name with her permission. Most of the responses of other women below do not include names. The final story includes a woman’s first name only.
Ms. Brecher wrote, “Approximately 35 years ago I was held down and forced to have sex with a male. He later became a successful and prominent attorney. I never reported it. I believe her.”
Ms. Brecher clarified later in the thread that “I believe her” was in reference to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. She said if the man who allegedly raped her was ever nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court, “I might possibly come forward. I will, however, never forget, his words: ‘If you scream, nobody will hear you. If they hear you, they’ll never believe you.'”
“You know what?” Ms. Brecher asked. “He was right, that person who raped me. Nobody would have believed me.”
“Why was I alone with this person?” Elisabeth later reflected. “I had dated him for a couple of years, and did not have a reason to think he would do such a thing. I had broken up with him, but it was a friendly breakup, or so I thought. We were students. He asked to come over and talk. I didn’t see a problem with that. I lived in an apartment, my roommate was out, and it was a pretty sound-proof building.”
“I was not a child. I was in my 20s,” Ms. Brecher said. And she never felt comfortable coming forward.
How would a 15-year-old respond?
A woman reflected on why some may not believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, “What I find fascinating is that while most of the women I know, myself included, have been either raped or assaulted sexually (but escaped actual rape), those that haven’t experienced it are in total denial about how prevalent it is. The same is true of incest. I guess it’s one of those things that many women just never discuss until another woman comes forth with HER story.”
“Well, we all grew up with strong discouragement about ever talking about it,” Elisabeth Brecher responded.
Another woman responded, “I believe her too. Due to things that happened to me in the past that I care not to mention.”
“I believe her,” said another alleged sexual assault victim, a woman, “I was held down and a large, very strong man attempted to rape me. He was an off-duty cop. I never told anybody. I, also, got away.”
One woman shared why she remained silent, “48 years ago I was raped at a drive-in by a ‘date’ I was fixed up with in payment for a debt. I was 15. I never told any adults because I lied about where I was going.”
“I believe women,” she concluded.
Yet another woman chimed in, relating that when she was 16 she experienced “attempted rape, sexual assault, but I got away.”
The depth, the honesty of those responding began to have an impact on the readers. “So many of us,” someone said.
Someone else chimed in, “I am currently debating… Guess with who, men! Why did she wait 36 years. They just have no idea what we have been through because they never have. They sure don’t fault the young boys that didn’t speak up about molestation by their priests.”
“I know!! I am too,” Elisabeth Brecher responded. “This was my reason for making this post.”
The reassurances began, “I’ve got your back, Elisabeth!”
“We’ve have each others’ backs,” Ms. Brecher responded.
“I’m sick about the things I won’t speak of that other people are open confessing,” another woman said. “I’m sorry, Elizabeth, that it happened to you. #metoo.”
“This is why #metoo is/was so powerful!!!” Ms. Brecher responded.
One alleged victim said she was raped by a teacher, “I was a child (8?) and teenagers held me down.
I was in [junior high] – teacher had his way. My memories of more, aren’t clear.”
“So sorry about what happened to you Elizabeth, and the many others who have posted,” someone else responded. “I get so mad when I hear comments that it wasn’t rape, so it’s no big deal. Get over it! This from people like Franklin Graham! OMG! Even if what happened between Dr. Ford and Kavanaugh was not rape, it was sexual assault, no matter how minor. The fact that Kavanaugh WOULD not admit and apologize for HIS teenage actions, makes him a creep of the highest order. Who knows how many other incidents are in his past. If he weren’t guilty then I think he would have said, let the FBI investigate, it didn’t happen. HE DID NOT ask for that, so in my book, he’s guilty. I BELIEVE HER!”
In response to this, one woman said, “He can’t confess because in the state it happened he could be arrested and convicted. I believe her.”
“This. Is. Too. F*****g. Common. (And I’m so sorry.)” another woman declared.
But these women seemed aware that they would not have appeared credible, “No one would have believed me either. Few people know. WE ARE THE STRONG ones!” another alleged victim responded.
One woman reflected on the response to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford as yet another reason women still do not come forward, “It seems to me that all people have to do is watch the way she’s being treated. THAT’S (part of) why women don’t report it.”
And this sobering thought from yet someone else, “Rape follows you your entire life ….you never really look at men the same way again even if you want to trust it never fully happens. They say rape is more about control and violence on someone weaker than themself and I believe that but how do I turn off the feeling of loathing and self-hatred ? I was raped at age 12 by a cousin then sexually abused by my father till I was 18 [because] I allowed it to happen at age 12. Dad was just helping me transition so I would feel comfortable later …..again in college at age 20, pulled into an alley, beaten and brutalized.
“Nobody like Kavanaugh should be anywhere near our legislative courts. Young men don’t just stop doing it – they just get better at it,” she concluded.
Rose’s #MeToo Story
Rose wrote at greater length, sharing the story of the sexual assault she suffered while a student in high school:
Christine Ford’s story is my story. Spring of my senior year. Two guys from a neighboring public school. A sheltered Catholic school girl was an easy target. A guy friend noticed I was missing from a party. My friend found me and stopped the assault as it was happening.
They were both big guys, football players, and I was fighting with everything I had but couldn’t get up with two huge guys pinning me down. He was not a big person either, but they didn’t want a witness, and he was one.
That night, I saw the best and worst of men. I’ve worked hard to not let those two men define me or limit my ability to love other men, and I’ve won. I feel no shame about what happened to me. That is solely on those two men.
Although I’ve told many people about this incident in generic language, I’ve told exactly one person — one of my close childhood friends — the details of that night, which I still remember in play-by-play detail. This from a woman who often can’t remember what she ate for breakfast by lunch.
It is burned in my brain.
Like many survivors, I have flashbacks, and there is a particular smell — a detergent mixed with sweat — that brings me back to that moment. It used to bother me at gyms. My body carries that memory.
I didn’t report it to school officials because I knew how the principal, a Roman Catholic sister, had treated other girls at the school in this situation, and she protected the reputation of the school–not the girls. I was lucky to have teachers I trusted who loved me, but I knew that they couldn’t protect me.
I understood that I could be held responsible for drinking alcohol. I knew the guys were just going to say I initiated it. They had their version of the story before it even started. Like I said, this was planned. They were defending themselves as my friend helped me out of the room.
To this day, I believe that I made the correct decision, and I don’t regret not coming forward at the time. I had a college scholarship and a future to protect, and I put myself first by keeping silent then. It was the right call.
My mom noticed the bruises on my upper body, but she accepted my lame answer as to how I got them. She loves me so much, but as a Catholic women of her generation, she lacked the words to speak with me about sex let alone about rape. I don’t think she believes she lives in a world where these things happen to “good girls,” and I am a good human being.
Rose on Becoming a Better Human Being
I’ve used this experience to make myself an even better human being and, above all to be the advocate for my students that I wish I had had. This experience sparked my interest in the history of rape, and I know that how I teach that and what I write has done good for others.
I didn’t owe anyone full disclosure then, nor do I now. I am posting this because twenty-four years later, I am still exhausted by the female rape apologists and men who joke about rape and defend rape as normal youthful behavior. I am in awe of what Dr. Ford has taken on by coming forward, and sharing this — and putting another human face on a story like hers — feels like the right way to show my support and appreciation for her.
RAINN on the Allegations Against Kavanaugh
RAINN issued the following statement on the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, “Sexual assault is a crime, and every allegation should be thoroughly investigated. The allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford are very serious. The Senate Judiciary Committee has a responsibility to hear from both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford before voting on his nomination.
“History tells us that hearing allegations such as these often leads others to reach out for help. Free, confidential support is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE and RAINN.org.”