In a powerful op-ed in the Washington Post framed as a letter to Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey Ford, journalist Connie Chung reveals that she is a victim of sexual assault.
“I, too, was sexually assaulted — not 36 years ago but about 50 years ago,” Chung writes. “I have kept my dirty little secret to myself. Silence for five decades.”
She says the abuser was her family’s trusted doctor—the man who had delivered her as a baby in 1946. Much like Ford’s recollection before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the exact time and date may not be clear in her memory, but Chung writes with certainty about who assaulted her.
“It was the 1960s. I was in college. The sexual revolution was in full swing. The exact date and year are fuzzy. But details of the event are vivid — forever seared in my memory. Am I sure who did it? Oh yes, 100 percent.”
Similarly, Ford told the committee of her certainty about Kavanaugh when asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) how she was sure it was him. “The same way that I’m sure that I’m talking to you right now,” Ford said.
The details Chung describes in the piece are painful to read (and may be triggering to some). She visited her doctor to secure birth control and found herself on his examination table awaiting her first gynecological exam.
“While I stared at the ceiling, his right index finger massaged my clitoris. With his right middle finger inserted in my vagina, he moved both fingers rhythmically. He coached me verbally in a soft voice, ‘Just breathe. Ah-ah,’ mimicking the sound of soft breathing. ‘You’re doing fine,’ he assured me. Suddenly, to my shock, I had an orgasm for the first time in my life. My body jerked several times. Then he leaned over, kissed me, a peck on my lips, and slipped behind the curtain to his office area. I don’t remember saying anything to him. I could not even look at him. I quickly dressed and drove home.”
Chung thinks she may have told one of her sisters, but did not tell her parents or report the doctor to authorities. “It never crossed my mind to protect other women. Please understand, I was actually embarrassed about my sexual naiveté,” she writes. “I was in my 20s and knew nothing about sex. All I wanted to do was bury the incident in my mind and protect my family.”
In another heartbreaking detail (and an added layer to why some women don’t report assault), she says that her mother could neither read nor write in English—and she could not drive. (Her parents immigrated from China the year before she was born.) So that she did not have to return to the doctor’s office, Chung told her mother he lived too far away. She eventually told her husband, but doesn’t recall exactly when.
Like Ford, she says she is “terrified” about making this public revelation. “I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. Can you?” she asks. “If you can’t, I understand. I am frightened, I am scared, I can’t even cry.”
“I wish I could forget this truthful event, but I cannot because it is the truth. I am writing to you because I know that exact dates, exact years are insignificant. We remember exactly what happened to us and who did it to us. We remember the truth forever. Bravo, Christine, for telling the truth.”
Bravo, to you both.
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