I believe Dr. Ford. I believe her because I was her.
When I was 19 yeard old I was sexually assualted, in front of mutliple witnesses who relunctatly (and that part comes in to the story later) were willing to tell the truth.
This is important to the story because I was lucky. There were witnesses. Most cases are a a he said, she said.
This was two drunken boys who fucked up publicly over the course of a few hours and the question was now how much word they be punished.
I was lucky in that my school reacted quickly. The boys had been acting out, nakedly entering young women’s apartments and refusing to leave. These women had reported it to campus security however, none of them would sign a sworn statement as they were too afraid of how the campus community would act.
I had pretty much made up my mind at that point to press charges, however hearing the stories sent my mind in stone. I made my report to the police (campus and local).
In a matter of weeks, both boys lost their scholarships, were kicked out of the campus apartments, kicked out of school and permanetly banned.
And that’s when hell broke out.
It was March I believe when this happened though it was over ten years ago, and I don’t remember the exact date. (I do however still vividly remember the details of what occured). I understand how Dr. Ford forgot some facts but still remembers the incident. Trust me, most of us wish we could forget.
I first heard that I was ruining their lives! How could I? They were my friends and now because of what I did, they would lose their scholarships and get kicked out of school.
This was reiterated so much to me, that I started to believe it and question my own sanity.
Then came the death and rape threats. People would stop by my apartment to see if I was there and threaten to fight me, or show me what it was like to be raped. These were people I knew. People that until that week, I hung out with. They were my friends. And they wanted to harm me, over something I didn’t do. Over something that was a known fact.
Everyone there was my friend. It was a small campus apartment building about 60 people. The boys who assualted my friend and I were my friends, they were people I trusted. We hung out with them most weekends. I’d crashed at their place.
Girls, even ones who had expereienced the boys inappropriate behavior, barred me from their apartments. Even my best friend, who witnessed everything told me not to come to his apartment as his other roommates (one who was mad solely because he may have to come back to testify to what he say) were too pissed.
I had food thrown at me, as well as every name in the book.
Most nights I hide. That was when my classmates would start drinking and usually when the threats started up. I hid in the laundry room with the local pot dealer. He was perphaps the only person hated on this campus more than me and was one of the few people who took my side. And it was a ridiculous friendship as I had never done a drug a day but at least I was safe.
I transfered out at the end of that year, but even when I came back to visit a friend, almost a year later I recieved the same treatment.
Sitting on a park bench, talking with Dan, a group of boys threw food out their thrid story window at me and yelled how I ruined the campus. I had ruined their fun.
I think sometimes how my life may have been different. I remember my mom saying that she didn’t know how hurt I was but she knew I was broken because after it all happened, I couldn’t take the silence. Woke up, head set in. Music blaring. Showering, music on. Sometime twenty four seven to keep the silence away. To keep me away from my thoughts.
I think of what I went through, when the facts weren’t disputed and wonder what hell it is like for women who aren’t as lucky as I was.
I believe Dr. Ford because I am her. So are you friends, your wives, your sisters and daughters.
Thank you for having the courage to share.