Is it just me or does everyone believe women?

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Is it just me or does everyone believe women?

Is it just me or does everyone believe women?

In 1985 I went to a house party with two girlfriends, *Alison and Mel.

At the party there were kids we knew and others we didn’t. As it got late, people paired off.

Sometime after midnight Mel found me and wanted to go home. While we looked for Alison, Mel snuggled into my arm like it was cold.

Finally we got in the car and Mel burst into tears.  She had gone off with a boy none of us knew.  They had been kissing and he had insisted on more.  Mel was virgin.  We were all 17.

We talked about the fact it was sexual assault and that it wasn’t her fault.  Mel had a shower and cried herself to sleep, begging us not to tell anyone.

We didn’t think for a moment about going to the police.  Mel didn’t even know his name.  It was the eighties, the shame of admitting what had happened far outweighed our sense of justice.

I saw the guy in the dark and I knew a few of the group that he was with but I didn’t know him and I can’t tell you what day it was, except it was soon after we finished school, so probably early December 1985. I don’t remember where the house was.

Mel fell pregnant that night.  After Christmas her big sister took her to a clinic for an abortion.

We were young Catholic girls in way over our head.  And none of us said a word.

I imagine there is nothing extraordinary about that story.  All women experience unwanted sexual advances, some worse than others.  You don’t have to be beautiful or skinny or drunk.

On September 27, Dr Christine Blasey Ford went before the US Senate to detail her alleged sexual assault at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. With her voice shaking, Ford sat in front of a panel of Senators to recount her memories of a night in 1982 when Kavanaugh and friend allegedly pushed her into a room where she said Kavanaugh held her down and attempted to assault her.

In the week leading up to her testimony she was harassed so much that she was forced to leave her home.

In the week following, many powerful people, including the President of the United States, called her testimony into question.  And reminded me so powerfully why we never said anything in 1985.

I know my friend Mel still knows the name of that (now) 50 y-o man.  He might never have hurt another girl, but he held my friend too tight and raped her.  Then he got up and walked away.

Testimony might be 30 years too late but it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.  And some scars never heal.

*names have been changed.

Caroline  xx

October 11, 2018

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