Anonymous Story:  Professor Christine Ford Gave Me the Courage

Anonymous Story: Professor Christine Ford Gave Me the Courage

Professor Chris Ford’s headline story about her sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh gave me the courage to confront one of the two men who raped me over forty years ago. The other rapist was shot to death years ago.

I couldn’t ignore the negative and ignorant comments aimed at Professor Ford about how long ago it was, why it hadn’t been reported to the authorities, and so on. It made me so angry to hear that she and her family are being threatened with harm and had to move from their home because she spoke up about the assault by Kavanaugh when she was a teenager. I do believe her and that’s why I didn’t say allegedly, or she claims. I understand so well the trauma she felt all those years ago and that has affected her to this day.

Over forty years ago, I was held hostage and raped repeatedly by two men whom I had believed were okay guys. Even though I didn’t know them personally, we had mutual friends and I was not at all fearful of them. Throughout the ordeal they wouldn’t let me put on any clothing because they wanted to keep me naked, and I was also forced to watch one of them urinate. After hours of being raped by both men, the one I reference below as the surviving rapist, was getting ready to rape me again. I couldn’t bear being raped again and I felt that I was going to lose my mind. When the rapist was on top of me, I heard construction workers outside the ground floor city apartment. My thought was that I could yell to them for help, so I pretended that I couldn’t breathe. I begged the rapist to please help me because I was afraid that I was dying and that I needed air. He brought me to the window, but saw that I was looking for help and that I had been faking. He grabbed me by my neck from the window, but I hit him, got loose and went to the window again. Amazingly, there were two police officers standing right in front of the apartment. I screamed for help and they were at the apartment door within seconds. I pressed charges and the rapists were arrested. The case went to the Grand Jury. I wasn’t believed.

From the time of the rape until going to court, I was constantly harrassed by phone or in person. Even in the court house I was followed in an attempt to intimidate me. Justice wasn’t done in my case for a number of reasons, but I believe a major reason was because of the age-old prejudices against women who report sexual attack. He said-she said. Back then there wasn’t the support we have today, but even today Professor Ford is being attacked once more, just like in the old days, because she had the courage to speak up. It made me so angry.

The surviving rapist lives in my neighborhood (he’s the one who forced me to watch him urinate). Over the years I’ve seen him in restaurants, stores, walking down the street, etc. In the earlier years he was very arrogant. For example, he would cross the street to walk toward me so he’d pass me face to face. He knew who I was. He knew what he had done. He had no remorse or shame. As the years passed he wasn’t as aggressive, particularly when I was with my boyfriend or other friends, but he was always there. I told everyone I knew that he was a rapist, so there was some satisfaction in that – especially when he was told to leave a restaurant (that happened more than once) or was confronted at a dinner party by my friend. But in spite of that, I was reminded of being raped each time I saw him. I was also reminded how justice wasn’t done for me. I always had an underlying feeling of dread of never knowing when or where the rapist would show up. Short of leaving the city, my home, (like Professor Ford was forced to do) there was no escaping the fact that this man raped me. The rape was such an evil act that it’s very difficult to describe how painfully it impacted my life. I felt so vulnerable which was one of the worst feelings of all. There was no positive finale for me, until Professor Ford’s story was made public. It made me so angry!

The other day I saw the rapist and felt that I had no choice but to face him. I approached him and the encounter went something like this. I asked him if he had heard of the Me Too movement. He said that he had. (BTW He acted as though he didn’t recognize me.) I said, so you know that you’re a rapist, right? You do know that? He said that he knows that I’m a very sick woman. He said it twice, but he didn’t deny that he’s a rapist. I told him he knows that he’s a rapist and that I know he’s raped other women too. (A friend told me that he knew another woman who was raped by him and his accomplice.) I told him that I knew the other rapist is dead and that all my friends and family know who he is. I asked him if he had any humility. Was he sorry for what he did? He didn’t respond. I told him to go see a priest or minister and ask about forgiveness. I also told him I would love to see him in court again one day. He didn’t say much except that I’m a very sick woman (as noted above) and that he wouldn’t dignify one of my questions with a reponse. Oh yes, I took his picture. He did nothing.

Not only is he a rapist, he is a coward too. I realized that right away when I saw how feebly he reacted when I confronted him. I’m glad he’s a coward. The reason being that until he owns up to his crime and admits his responsibility he will suffer a thousandfold. A brave man dies but once, a coward many times.

He will carry on, but until he accepts culpability, every time he sees me he will be reminded that he is a rapist. Maybe now when he sees me and crosses the street, he’ll cross to walk away from me instead of toward me.

I am liberated because I faced the thing that had devastated me for years. It was that quick. I feel Good. Relieved. Grateful. And especially Thankful to Professor Ford.

Thank you, Professor Ford. You never could have imagined that your current situation would have spurred me on to do what I did. It was because I am angry about the way you’re being treated and as a result, I rediscovered my anger for the way I had been treated.

Thank you for your bravery in going up against the very powerful. The very powerful in your story are also very cowardly.

Thank you.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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