Watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford give witness to her sex assault by Kavanaugh, I feel empowered to give witness to my sex assault. But I am afraid. In the era of soulless trolls, as more than one friend has counselled, it will open me up for derision and disbelief.
But, as Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey wrote in the New York Times, "To move forward we have to excavate the past."
My evidence is as thin as the child I was when I was sexually assaulted. A frozen snapshot memory of a hand molesting me as I lay in a camp cot on a sleeping porch somewhere in the south. I remember the overpowering fragrance of night blooming plants, smells that nauseate me to this day. The smell of artificial mint that led to my inability to use mint toothpastes, it makes me vomit. The sweaty smell of the Southern-accented man whose hand slipped into my baby doll pajamas the night I remember. His smelly breath calling me "Honey."
"The past is never dead. It's not even past," as William Faulkner wrote. Indeed. Writing about this about 60 years later I find my breathing slows to a stop.
No, I never, ever told anyone. Not my best friends. Not my beloved and husband of 45 years. And most assuredly not my parents who switched, spanked and smacked me throughout my childhood.
Where were they when this happened?
And no, I do not have corroborating evidence. No film, no DNA, no witness, because that is how sex assault works. The victim and perpetrator are alone. My childish vocabulary wouldn't have included words like sex, vagina or molestation.
But the memory of the sex assault is locked into my brain as psychologist Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified, “The level of norepinephrine and epinephrine encodes memories into the hippocampus. And so the trauma related experience is locked there, whereas other details kind of drift.”
Well-educated survivors like Dr. Ford who can explain the how the brain reacts to trauma are dismissed by hysterically screeching males like Lindsey Graham, Kavanaugh and Trump. Lawrence O'Donnell summed it up, the word of a woman isn't equal to the word of a man. Not in America. Not before courts, with alleged sex assault males like a Kavanaugh.
So I'm not outing myself not because it's a gray day and I haven't anything better to do, but because I will not be put back in the emotional darkness of the closet of fear wherein I lived for decades.
After all, when even on Fox the truth oozes out of the shadows as Chris Wallace's daughters finally share with him "what happened to them in high school", it's time to call out the sex assault enablers. And I have a list.
Punished for my silence by carrying within me the cancer of sex assault with the lifetime of pain, I believe there is no downside to opening up the closet door to my sex assault. In witnessing it finally and fully, I believe the truth will set me free from the nightmare I lived too long.
And though I don't believe in hell, except in this world, I hope that the #MeToo movement will bring caring souls to stand up and leave rooms when sex assault enablers walk in. As examples of the worst of humanity, shunning them is too kind for their evil enabling.