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Daily Archives: September 24, 2018Quote
Has anyone had a horrific massage experience besides me?
All of this Kavanaugh stuff is bringing up memories I’m not that fond of. The massage happened when I was forty. My kids were 17 and 13. I thought I was old.
My back went totally out that year when we were on vacation visiting my parents in Palm Springs. “Get a massage,” my husband suggested.
The only massage therapist was male and I said I didn’t care. I just needed some relief.
It all started fine. He was very strong and could get at my tangled muscles.
Then he said, “I can’t believe you’re forty. Your body is perfect.”
I should have heard the warning bell clanging “DANGER” but again I say, I thought I was old so I ignored the comment.
A few minutes later, he had pushed his body so close to my side that I could feel his erection.
That caused all kinds of alarms to go off. What the hell? I thought and scooted towards the center of the table. I tried to be subtle about it, nice girl that I am. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
He moved to the head of the table–it was not good. This kind of thing continued until I was scared to death. “Just let this be over,” I said to myself.
I didn’t know what to do. Now I would have said, “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Get out of here.” Then I started praying that my husband would come to meet me.
Which he did. The massage was over and I was standing in the room (I have no recollection of what the room looked like or what I was wearing, etc. ) when I heard my husband’s hearty voice at the door. I’ve never been happier to hear him because the massage therapist had just told me to hug him.
I was a well brought up, polite woman. WHO DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO STAND UP FOR MYSELF. I needed my husband to rescue me.
And again I felt guilty. What was the matter with me that things like this happened? What was I doing wrong?
Did I report this man? I thought about it but I didn’t. That’s what I did wrong.
Surviving sexual assault brings with it another load for survivors to carry: guilt. People demand to know: “Why didn’t Dr. Ford come forward right away? Why can she remember some details and not the others.”
I can’t answer for anyone else but me.
I can tell you this: you never forget the fear.
I was 22 and I can still feel my revulsion as his stubby fingers came at me. I was lucky. I was not raped–I was barely touched, but I get a sick feeling to this day when I think about it.
I was teaching at Meany Junior High in Seattle. Someone had been sending me notes for weeks, each getting more suggestive. I ignored them, thinking if I did that it would all go away. The last note demanded that I meet the sender at a coffee shop. I didn’t go, of course. But what if I had? (Interesting, I remember the notes, but I don’t remember if I threw them away. Did I tear them up?)
The next morning before school, my classroom door was flung open so hard that it sounded like a gun shot when it hit the wall. I looked up. This man I considered my mentor came rushing towards my desk, shouting. He grabbed me, still shouting. He accused me of leading him on. Then he tried to kiss me. I struggled to avoid his lips. Luckily I was hardly touched. The bell rang and a student came into the room. Talk about being saved by the bell.
I was not raped physically but I knew if the situation had been different, I might have been. But had I inadvertently been leading him on? Maybe it was my fault.
I didn’t tell anyone for 25 years. It was the Anita Hill hearings that induced me to tell my husband and parents. My mother had said, “Oh, I don’t think that’s true. Why wouldn’t she have said something over all these years.”
I said so quietly that they didn’t hear the first time, “It happened to me and I never said anything.”
I remember some of that morning fifty years ago, but details have faded. Like I said, I remember the fear. I don’t think I had bruises on my arms, but I can’t remember. I wanted to forget it had happened. So I buried it deep.