#IBelieveHer Over the years, I’ve experienced more sexual harassment than I can remember. I was lucky enough to escape sexual assaults on two separate occasions. Like many survivors, the display put on by Kavanaugh and the GOP has caused painful memories to resurface-Long Thread
1. I’ve chosen to tell the story of one of my assaults. It’s an experience that is similar in some ways to the truth so bravely told by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about her alleged assault by Brett Kavanaugh. Markedly, the trauma of coming forward only to be slapped with disbelief
2. I didn’t fear for my life. My attacker wasn’t drunk with an accomplice. My father taught me some fighting skills. So though he could easily overpower me, I felt my attacker would stop when he realized I could hurt him. He was a bully, but vain, cowardly and full of himself.
3. He was a coworker & I knew him well. I worked at a business with about 20 employees. My attacker & I usually had overlapping shifts. We worked together about four hours a day. We didn’t get along from day one. He was a young, misogynistic jerk who enjoyed pushing women around.
4. He would insult us, name call and make sexual comments. He singled me out because I would engage him in verbal battles (My parents were both feminists & no one pushed my mom around). But sadly, my coworkers and I we were unable to defend ourselves by reporting him to mgmt.
5. He was clever, only mistreating us when the boss & higher mgmt wasn’t around. He had ingratiated himself with the boss through false flattery and admiration. He was the Golden Boy. Consequently, he could put in minimal effort and still get a bigger paycheck than the rest of us
6. Many of us were far more skilled. I grow bored when not acquiring new skills at work. (He once told me, the less you learn the less you have to work). Most of my coworkers & I were in our twenties. And this was during the Bush Sr. era. Not the greatest time for women’s rights.
7. So we did not feel safe reporting him to the higher ups. I knew, facing a choice between my attacker or me, the boss would choose him. None of us could afford to lose our jobs. So we kept quiet and endured the abuse. I personally dealt with it, on and off, for close to a year
8. Then it became physical. At first it was inappropriate touching. Then it was groping. I would shut it down fast. But he was persistent. He knew he could treat us however he wished. He believed he ruled the roost. It all changed one night he and I were closing up together alone
9. I found myself suddenly pinned to the floor beneath him. He grabbed under my clothing in private places. I told him to stop. As I’d push his hands from one area, he’d go for another. He was far too strong for me and I could see that the more I struggled the more he enjoyed it.
10. He was having fun. Being able to overpower me was a thrill because he’d been unable to dominate me any other way. So I stopped struggling. This confused him momentarily & I was able to talk him into releasing me. I do know how very lucky I am. Most assaults don’t end that way
11. I mulled over what to do. He behaved as if nothing had happened. I was nervous around him, but he was too cowardly & pompous to risk another confrontation so soon. Instead he focused on harassing some of my coworkers. Then he tested the waters, groping me. I’d had enough.
12. I longer cared if I lost my job. I did fear he would find out. But I also feared he would move on to assault one of my coworkers. So I went to management and told them my story. A few coworkers reported his verbal abuse of them. He was fired. I’d been heard. I was so relieved
13. Being a small company where the majority of the employees were women, I believe made a difference in their choosing to fire him. In the corporate world, all the rules are stacked against women. To this day I am afraid that he will discover it was me who first reported him.
14. But the fact that my workday was no longer a battle made it worth it. I felt somewhat vindicated & empowered that I’d been believed & there had been justice. We all felt such relief. A few weeks later I was closing up late alone. I passed through a meeting room on the way out
15. I nearly stopped dead in my tracks, feeling like I’d been gutpunched. Off to the side, sitting at a table was the boss, chatting with the Golden Boy, my attacker. They glanced at me. The boss had no expression on his face. He turned back to my attacker & ignored me as I left.
16. I don’t often think about either attempted assault. I saw a lot of craziness when I was young which may have inoculated me against the worst traumatic responses. I am so fortunate to not have to endure the kind of suffering so many survivors do for the entirety of their lives
17. But in recent weeks like so many other survivors, I felt my strength tested. I remember the fear of telling my boss about the abuse. I remember the way I’d watch the clock at work with dread, my anxiety levels rising as it ticked closer to the hour my assaulter would arrive.
18. I remember how my body would tense up if we were alone and he approached me in a certain way. I remember the rage I would feel during our verbal altercations. I remember feeling the despair knowing that it didn’t matter that I fought back. There was no winning that fight.
19. Most of all, I remember the utter shock, disbelief, anger, smallness, the insignificance I felt when I walked into that meeting room and saw the boss, joking with my attacker, as if the abuse had meant nothing. Or what I think happened, that the boss never believed me at all.
20. The boss wasn’t a cruel man, just weak. We weren’t mistreated. He never saw any of his Golden Boy’s behavior. My assaulter put on a very good show. To this day I think the boss believed our reports were concocted. It had been no secret that my assaulter and I didn’t get along
21. I think the boss felt that I created a fiction because I disliked my attacker. I was known for my attitude, so I’m sure he believed I’d organized everything. And I was the only one who reported a sexual assault. The other woman reported only verbal abuse. But that mattered.
22. Had it only been my report, I likely would have been the one who was fired. The boss could have cited my known disagreements with my assaulter & accused me of lying. But with other women’s complaints, he felt it was safer, for the sake of his business, to fire my attacker.
23. I’ve watched this farce of an investigation into Kavanaugh and his confirmation to the highest court in the land feeling an incredible anger. An incredible sadness. I’ve been reliving the stress of working alongside my assaulter. I’ve been reliving that awful gut punch moment
24. I’ve been reliving that feeling of insignificance, knowing that my truth had been dismissed. My feelings didn’t matter. My suffering didn’t matter. The boss wanted more to be able to still bathe in my attackers false fawning admiration than to see I got justice.

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