As many of you know – from my previous blog posts – I was an unlucky 15-year-old who caught the attention of a 24-year-old man who attended our church.
It was the summer of 1985. “Dick” had just dropped out of college and moved in with his parents. I was a high school sophomore. He was a loser. I was an idealist.
One Sunday, after church, I noticed him staring at me. Being a young and stupid and impressionable teenager, I was flattered. I was even more flattered when he and one of the guys in our teen group followed us home. Bear in mind, I was a passenger in my mom’s car, along with my two younger sisters.
In a matter of weeks, he had convinced me to start sneaking out of my parents’ house in the middle of the night. We would drive to Lake Travis and make out.
Thanksgiving 1985 – I finally broke down and confessed. Over Thanksgiving dinner. My parents were totally caught off guard. They’d had no idea that any of this was going on.
But hey – the CHURCH was OK with the whole thing. And so, with the church’s permission, I started “dating” Dick openly.
By December, I’d lost my virginity to him – after weeks of moaning and complaining and self-pity on his part. It wasn’t special. It wasn’t romantic. It wasn’t remotely pleasurable. It was simply an act in which I reluctantly participated to placate my “Christian” adult boyfriend.
Over the next five years, our “relationship” spiraled out of control. Dick was jealous and controlling and abusive.
Ever been held down and forced to have sex? I have. Repeatedly.
Ever spent weeks waiting anxiously for your period to arrive because your selfish boyfriend secretively slipped off a condom during one of your intimate encounters? I have.
Ever wondered what you would do if said horrible boyfriend got you pregnant? I have. (Abort. Abort. Abort.)
During the 5 1/2 years I spent with Dick, I was repeatedly held down, told to “shut up” and raped anytime that I refused sex. Note: I refused it for a variety of reasons, one of those being the fear of becoming a pregnant teenager.
In the fall of 1989, my mother noticed fingerprint-shaped bruises on my left arm. And I finally admitted what had been going on.
In short order, I transferred from my local college to the University of North Texas – 3 1/2 hours away from home. And from Dick.
Only then, did I summon the courage to break it off. I was safe. I lived in an all-girls dorm and he couldn’t get to me.
This week, I’ve read Christine Blasey Ford’s account of what Brett Kavanaugh – the GOP’s pick for the Supreme Court – did to her.
I believe her.
And so do the many women who have found themselves in situations in which they were vulnerable and a man – or men – felt ENTITLED to violate them.
It took me years to work up the nerve to describe all of the horrors that Dick put me through – even though I was the VICTIM.
No woman comes forward with a story like Ford’s unless she is telling the truth. Because not only do you fear that you won’t be believed – you fear the many judgements that will be passed on you, but NOT your attacker.
Because, of course, it’s always our fault. We dressed the wrong way, acted the wrong way, said the wrong things….
… according, that is, to the patriarchy.
But here’s the truth. No one has the right to do what 24-year-old Dick did to 15-year-old me. And Brett Kavanaugh did not have the right to do what he did to a high school classmate.
My body. My choice. MY decision.
Ford’s body. Ford’s choice. Ford’s decision.
Not Dick’s. And not Brett Kavanaugh’s.