On September 27th, all eyes were on the United States as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford delivered an account of how Supreme Court Justice nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, sexually assaulted her over 30 years ago.
While her testimony was lauded by supporters across North America, there was also no shortage of critics – the most prominent one being none other than US President Donald Trump – who questioned her inability to remember specific details of the incident.
In a letter to Victoria Buzz, an anonymous Victoria resident decided to speak up and share her harrowing account of how she was sexually assaulted multiple times over the course of several decades.
Her message to the public and all victims of sexual assault is that one’s memory of traumatic incidents does not invalidate their experiences, and they deserve to be heard if and when they choose to share their stories.
Read her letter below:
This week I watched Donald Trump mock the woman who was sexually assaulted by his nomination for the Supreme Court. I was infuriated – that man who calls himself president is appalling.
When I started to watch Christine Blasey Ford testify, my TV was on mute, and I kept it that way for about 15 minutes and just watched her on silent. I knew instantly by her body language that she was reliving what Kavanaugh did to her. It made my heart hurt to rewind and listen to her words. This poor woman has been tortured with this memory for decades and now was telling the world.
Will she remember every little detail? No, but she will remember the important parts – the parts that matter. I don’t believe for one minute that any woman (or man) who was sexually assaulted would go on live TV to be judged and mocked if it wasn’t their truth.
I know if I had to tell the world about the three times I was sexually assaulted – at 18, by my then boyfriends’ best friend, at 25 by a bar owner who my soon to be ex-husband had hired and lastly, at 35 by my son’s father, who decided that raping me would make me weak enough to stay with him (he was right) – well I couldn’t do it. I still can’t even tell my family, let alone the world.
I know talking openly about this to the world would be devastating; not just for me, but for my children, family, and friends. So I am not talking about it. I am writing it, even though it is making my heart hurt, and I am shaking as I remember the many memories that I have tried so desperately to forget.
But I am writing in hopes that you will see that every little detail is not important, but what one can remember should be enough.
I don’t remember the exact dates and I don’t remember what any of them were wearing, but I do remember where I was when they happened and certain details, though not all. I was drugged in one of the instances, but still, I remember enough.
At 18, I was in my own apartment. I was fresh out of high school and about to start my life as a young adult. The ‘boy‘ randomly stopped by, which he had never done before. When he asked if I wanted to have sex, I said no, and asked him to leave.
In response, he took his pants off and grabbed my right hand and told me to give him a hand job. I didn’t even know what that meant; at 18 I was extremely innocent, but I knew it was wrong, and I didn’t want to see his penis, let alone hold it.
He managed to force my hand on his penis for a few minutes, but it seemed much longer. Then he let go, held my head and tried to force me down on him. I screamed that I would bite it off, so instead he shoved me back into the corner of my bedroom, quickly finished himself off and when he ejaculated, it went all over me and my bedroom wall.
After this incident he told my boyfriend I slept with him and our relationship was quickly over, because when I tried to tell my boyfriend what had actually happened, he called me a liar. I felt ashamed and for a long time felt like it was my own fault because I let him come into my apartment.
I never told anyone about this until years later, so if I had to relive it on national TV, who would back me up? Nobody. I am certain that that young boy of 18 who is now a 55 year old man, would deny it.
At 25, I had left my husband, who I should mention, had abused me physically, mentally and yes sexually – although, 30 years ago I didn’t know that a husband could sexually assault a wife.
I moved about three hours away from him, worked three different jobs, and rarely saw my daughter because it was easier to work than to go home – I couldn’t look at the innocent face whose world had been turned upside down.
Leaving her to be cared for by the daycare during the day and my older sister in the evenings was better than her seeing me crumble.
Months after I moved far away from him, trying to forget my horrible marriage, I was able, on my odd night off, to go to a local bar with both my older sisters. Everyone seemed very nice there. It was always the same regular crowd and I felt safe there – and I was for months whenever I myself join them. It was freeing, until it wasn’t.
One night I showed up late, after working three weeks straight, twenty hours a day. I was about to have two days off from all three jobs, and I wanted to drink and let loose a bit.
The bar closed at 1:30 a.m. and I didn’t even get there until 30 minutes past midnight, so I knew it wasn’t going to be a drunk fest, but that was okay with me. A couple of drinks would do just fine. I didn’t last long – apparently I passed out rather quickly. My friends and sisters were going to an after party and couldn’t wake me up.
The owner/bartender said not to worry, he had stuff to do and would make sure I got home safe. They all knew this man and felt safe leaving me behind. I don’t know how long I was passed out, but when I woke up my hands were bound together with my belt above my head. He was still on top of me and I couldn’t move to fight him off.
He left me there on the table when he was done and as I laid motionless and voiceless, I watched him clean up behind the bar.
I blacked out briefly and when I came to, he was putting me in a taxi. As he shut the door, he said to me, “thank your husband for this, it was fun”.
I went home and didn’t leave the house again for nine months. I had a young daughter, but I couldn’t even take her to the park or to see Santa at Christmas. If it wasn’t for my sisters I don’t know what would have happened to me, to us. I worked so hard to feel normal again and now I was so scared again, so lost, so helpless.
I never told my sisters what happened but I think they knew. I mean, I went from working my ass off, to being afraid to walk to the mailbox in my apartment building.
I only told one person at the time and that person bailed as a friend shortly after. My rapist, my cruel soon to be ex-husband, the friend who ditched me when I needed her the most, and myself are the only four people who knew of this. If I had to relive this on national TV, no one would back me up.
At 35, I had already been with my son’s father for a few years. We never married, never lived together, but we spent a lot of time together as a family.
I knew he was an alcoholic and that he was extremely mentally abusive. I lived with alcoholic parents growing up and thought that as long as I stayed sober it would be fine. And as for being abused mentally, I had no clue how bad it was until I was finally done with him. Sadly that took what seemed like forever.
I wasn’t in love with him; most days I didn’t even like him, but I allowed him back in my home time and time again because he was my son’s father. I knew he loved his son and somewhere inside of me I thought I could save him. I was wrong.
It hit me suddenly one day: I knew I was healthy enough, mentally, to end it. I had gained so much strength in the past ten years and had surrounded myself with friends and family, so I knew we would be just fine without him.
After a while, I started dating a man at work. He was always so nice to me. We got along great, we laughed all the time and I felt like I could trust him. His ex mother-in-law was my best friend and she supported us dating. I mean how many ex-mother-in-laws would support that?!
When my ex found out about us dating, he wasn’t happy. He knew this man, he liked him before finding out about us, but now he was so jealous, and he didn’t care that I was finally happy.
I tried to avoid talking to him when he came for visitation with our son. I tried to even avoid visitations altogether if I could. My mom would at times come stand in for me, but she couldn’t do it all the time.
One night he stayed longer than he was supposed to visit his son for. He lingered, saying we needed to talk, so I put the kids to bed and told him he had ten minutes.
It started out okay, but then as he spoke he got closer and closer to me. I was sitting on the floor in front of the TV, and before I knew it, he had crept over on the couch until he was almost eye to eye with me and then it happened.
He held me down, one hand on my face, the other hand, after he took off his pants, was wrapped around my neck. When he forced his penis into me, I told him to stop. I fought back, I fought back so hard and silently, so as not to wake the kids, that I blacked out. I don’t recall him leaving, I only remember waking up half naked.
I dressed, checked in on the kids sleeping so innocently in their beds and I laid in bed wide awake until I had to go to work the next morning. I couldn’t hide my bruises from my boyfriend or from my best friend as I worked with them both. I tried to hide them, but it was too obvious and I couldn’t stop crying.
After work I talked to a police officer friend of mine. We sat in his police cruiser behind an ice arena close to my house. He took pictures of my bruises, he listened to me talk and cry and he counselled me on charging him with rape and what the process would be.
I asked him, no I begged him to give me some time to think about everything because I wanted to make sure charging him was the best option. We had a son together after all.
But in reality, I was embarrassed and ashamed and I didn’t want any of this to go public. Ultimately I decided not to proceed with charges, disappointing myself and my boyfriend. He couldn’t handle the fact that I wasn’t going to proceed with charges and broke up with me. I was so upset with him that looking back I think I was more angry at him at the time then at my ex. I mean, how screwed up is that?
I ended up staying with my rapist for a few more years. He was right, he knew I was weak and that I would stay in a loveless relationship. We never had sex again, forced or consensual.
It took me a while and tons of counselling but I got my life in order and left that man and that life we had behind. I have never spoken to anyone in my family about this rape or the other two assaults – not to my sisters, brothers, or my children.
There is a total of seven people that knew of this when it happened. Me, my best friend, my ex-boyfriend, my police officer friend, my rapist, and oddly enough the parents of one of his ex girlfriends.
I honestly don’t even know why, but he made me tell them that he raped me. It was the oddest thing ever: we sat around the table, I cried and told them exactly what happened and after I was done he told them, “yes it happened”, but he also said that I wanted it and that it wasn’t as bad as it sounded.
The two people who I had just told about my rape sat there. I was raped by the man their own daughter dated for years, the man who sat beside me, the man who was a father to the young boy playing on their living-room floor. But they said nothing. We had dinner and we never spoke of it again.
So here I am, 37 years later, 30 years later, and 20 years later. I remember enough, but I wouldn’t want to relive it on national TV let alone be mocked.
My hope is for any and all victims that this mockery has triggered, to find peace in their own personal truth. What you can remember is totally enough.