I am a 72-year-old woman, an RN for about 50 of those years Army Nurse Corps vet. I was/am not so beautiful nor smart, nor sexy/seductive. In my life I have been the victim of simple assault, sexual assault, simple battery, and sexual battery. Two of those were attempts. Two were first-degree rapes as defined by the laws of the jurisdictions in which they occurred.
One attempt was by the bishop of my ward. One wash by a stranger out front of a barber shop where inside getting a hair cut was the varsity football coach of my high school. There were witnesses to both events. No one helped me.
At an after school job I had in a bakery, I was frequently cornered in the sales shop, groped, and kissed in a horrible, nasty, sloppy way.
When I was a new RN, I had surgery in the hospital where I worked. Pre-op I was given some morphine and atropine as pre-anesthesia medication and taken to the OR on a gurney. For a time I was alone in the OR on this gurney with the anesthesiologist, the one who had ordered the prep. He told me to slide to my left onto the OR table and as I began to do that, he put his forearm under by shoulders and his wrist and hand under my buttocks. As he moved me toward the table he slid his thumb straight into my vagina. I was instantly horrified and it seemed to me as though his speed and ease in this move showed that he had probably done that very thing many times before. I started to scream as his face appeared over my head at the top of my visual periphery. His expression was menacing, and as he slammed the mask over my mouth and nose I thought he would kill me, that I would not wake up from this operation. Post-op I pretended to have forgotten the incident; I always thought he could kill me and get away with it anytime he wanted.
The last time I was victimized was in Washington, DC. A male officer with great influence over my job used to call me at my desk to “talk dirty.” Often. I would have to cut him off because I didn’t have any interest in him in “that way.” Also my work environment was busy with coworkers close by all the time. I was certain I’d get fired for these frequent telephone calls. Another fear of mine was that others would think I was receiving extra privileges from this man and that I had encouraged him to call me.
At a luncheon sponsored by this well-known non-profit, as we were going up a crowded escalator toward the long table that had been set up for us, he stood on the step right behind me and began to put his hands up the back of my dress. He stuffed my slip and underwear into my anus. It was a most terrifying situation because of the significance of the gathering and the high-powered people attending. When I turned around to look at him, his menacing expression told me a lot: he could and would ruin me if I made a peep. I believed him. I pulled away as far as I could in the crush of the crowd and then ran away when the escalator emptied at the end of the ascent. He actually chased me to get a seat near me,probably so that he could torment me through lunch. I got away that day, but I sensed it wasn’t over.
This same man made calls to my workplace even after my rejection of him at the luncheon and later broke into my garage and attempted to break into my townhouse while yelling at me and banging on my door.
I was later fired by this non-profit, an organization that has held itself out as a glorifier of women, an organization that empowers women, and stands up for women. My rapist was at the meeting of board members who decided on my firing. I have since been told in no uncertain terms by the lawyer for this group that should I tell my story I will be hit by an action for libel, invasion of privacy, and breach of a nondisclosure agreement and forced to pay all legal expenses and professional fees. The legal fees for them would be paid by the usual contributions of supportive citizens of the group’s “cause.”
As I watch and listen to the acts and statements by Donald Trump, I fully understand and accept the delays in reporting by his victims. It is due to FEAR. There has been no justice for me, no justice for the first assault/battery nor some subsequent ones because there were no laws that would protect me or give me redress at the time (1960s and early 70s). Now, I continue to be extremely frightened by these powerful men and organizations. But I cheer the courage of the Trump accusers and I shall feel come vindication in their favorable outcomes.
Further, I realize these events seem like a lot to have occurred in one lifetime. But I bet my story is not unique. I urge women, especially those my age, to think back to such experiences. Look up assault/battery/rape in BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY, and inquire into the laws of your state.I think you will realize you have been violated along the way and been unable to recognize it or so afraid of the powerful people who did this stuff to you and afraid of those whose misogyny has made them unwilling to help you in a search for justice and vindication.
*Another thing: I have had people who have asked me why I just didn’t run away or “just step on his foot.” They are among the majority of people–women included–who don’t have a clue what it is like to be in an adversarial situation with a super-rich, super-powerful egomaniac, defenseless, alone, and dependent upon his largesse for your job and the preservation of your reputation.