“I kept silent. Why? In a word… fear. Fear of retaliation from my attacker, of ostracism, of being disbelieved, and even blamed for my own assault. ”
No help. No support.
That night, my coworker and I had conversations with both of the senior physicians. One was very supportive and sympathetic. The other, not so much. He said we were not to discuss it with anyone. My friend, and co-worker was told she was being an “alarmist.”
I received no help, and no support, beyond my co-workers. As a small employer, we had little help from Federal or State authorities, at the time. I sought the advice of an attorney. Without witnesses, I was told I had no case. The attorney urged me to work it out internally. That was my only option. Swallow my fear, my shame, my yes, guilt, and, “work it out.”
That afternoon, I told the senior physician I had seen an attorney. He was shocked. I told him I feared for my safety. I could not continue to perform my job, unless I had an assurance my attacker could never return to the office. My office. I demanded his keys be taken and the locks changed immediately. I gained, at least, the assurance it would be done. Would it, I wondered? I was still scared witless.
Then… he returned, smiling.
The next day, my attacker returned, smiling, as if nothing had happened. Terrified, I hid in the bathroom. Somehow, I knew it was up to me, or nothing would happen. I confronted him. I told him that I wanted him out and that he was forbidden to ever return. He then screamed at me, “This is my office and you have no right to tell me to get out!” I screamed back and said, “You violated me and I have every right.”
He then said the usual, hateful, words. “You know what you did, it’s your fault.”
That was the last time I ever saw him. I continued to work, but I was never the same. I was always fearful he would return. The images never left.
No resources, no power, no options.
Following those days, I thought about taking legal action. Inside, I knew I would stand little chance. Not against this very well known, well respected, and affluent physician. “He said, she said,” would carry little weight against his reputation and resources. I would never have been believed. I would have been called a liar, and I’m sure I would be painted as the cause of his actions. Plus, his family would suffer. I felt the need to protect them, somehow.
I had limited resources and even less power. Not against a well-known, publicly respected, man. I was violated, and now powerless.
So, I stuffed it and did my best to forget about it. After all, like Franklin Graham said, I was not raped. No big deal. Get over it. This happens all the time.
Still not over it, years later.
After all these years, I am still not over it. Just writing about it brings panic. That day, he changed my life. He stole my peace and replaced it with panic attacks, anxiety, nightmares, fear, and distrust. He took that. How many others similarly lost their peace, during his long career? A good question.
Franklin Graham said, “Even if Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation is true, it shouldn’t matter.”
You are wrong Reverend Graham. IT DOES MATTER!
I am afraid to post this blog. But if Christine Blasey Ford summoned the courage to testify before the United States Senate, then I can at least share my story to honor her and all of the other victims, perhaps waiting to share their story.
I have been surrounded all of my life with good men and I am thankful for all of them.
God is good. “… the darkness has not overcome it.”
I am especially thankful for my husband, my sweet DKP, who calms me down after nightmares, and panic attacks, and makes me feel safe. Without his encouragement, I could not have told this story. My secret would still be held in darkness.
I don’t post this story for social media, “likes,” or commentary. My hope is that perhaps one woman, subject to rape or assault, will know she no longer has to feel ashamed. She no longer has to be silent.
God is good. Even when the world is sometimes evil. God is always good.
“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Peace to all of you.