We’ve all been barraged by stories of sexual assault recently in the media, which the alleged predator dismisses as “fiction.” I would be remiss if I glossed over the controversial topic without adding a few comments of my own.
As someone who has been a victim of unreported sexual assault, I understand why these women never stepped forward to report the incidents in the first place. At the time (think about twenty years ago), women who did not have a witness or a police report to substantiate their claims of assault or rape, knew that they would have their cases dismissed as hearsay and that the predator, if well-known in the community, would have the last word. Allegations of wanting to sue for money were a common defense by predators, and the humiliation in Court was not worth the shame.
I know that my own experience of having a doctor force himself on me and kiss me on the mouth during my hospital stay when I was immobile with crippling back pain, would have been a difficult one to prove. The curtain was drawn, I was alone with the doctor and totally helpless and in shock when it happened. Needless to say, after I was discharged I never returned to that doctor for follow-up care.
Anita Hill changed the course for women in 1991 when she testified at the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his obscene sexual harassment during the time of her employment as his assistant. She empowered us to come forward and speak out against the disgusting, unwanted solicitations we encounter in the workplace and in society at large, but unfortunately there are still several who remain untouched by the sensibility of sexual assault and its effects on women, although there may be female members in their own families.
This post is not meant to influence anyone’s decision in the upcoming election. It is only meant to share a painful experience that I know is similar to what many others have endured, and were helpless to do anything about. It is meant to empathize with those women who chose to speak out and are afraid of recrimination or dismissal. Perhaps, there are some of you who failed to listen in the past, but would listen today?