DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In what was already an emotionally charged situation, President Donald Trump drew more fury from sexual assault survivors by appearing to mock Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a campaign rally Tuesday night.
Ford is the college professor accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assault when they were teens.
Across North Texas and the nation, advocates and survivors are rushing to Dr. Ford’s defense, with this woman telling us that she knows all too well why women don’t tell.
“I was scared of what people would say, what people would do, but I wanted to make sure it didn’t happen to anyone else,” she said.
The woman, who’s name CBS 11 is not revealing for privacy reasons, says she was sexually assaulted eight years ago. It took her months to tell– and even longer to heal.
“You don’t know until it happens to you. You don’t know what it feels like to be a victim of this crime and everything you have to deal with inside emotionally and in your dreams every night, and it never goes away.”
She is in a better place now and is speaking out to encourage other survivors.
“I want them to know that, to the victims, that they are not alone. And that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Still, she says her visceral reaction to hearing President Trump mock Dr. Ford at a campaign rally was pain.
“It’s very sickening,” says said, her voice shaking and her eyes filling with tears. Then asking, to those who found the comments funny, “what if it was your daughter, your sister, your mother?”
Wendy Hanna is the executive director of The Turning Point Rape Crisis Center in Collin County. She says if anything good can come out of the now national focus on sexual assault, it would be that others find the courage to come forward, while reminding those still struggling that their story does not have to be a hashtag and play out on a national stage
“Your story isn’t about changing the world, it’s about changing you–and giving yourself an opportunity to have healing and hope again.”
And she is among those distressed and frustrated that the President used his national stage to mock a woman coming forward with an accusation of assault. She says she was particularly troubled by those at the rally laughing at the comments.
“And I challenge them to sit down and have a conversation with their loved one, with their relative, their friend, because I guarantee you: 2 out of every 5 women have experienced this. One out of 5 men have in Texas alone. So I guarantee you those people laughing behind our president when that was said, know somebody. They’re just not speaking out about it.”
But around the country, she says other survivors are breaking free of the bondage of silence. For example, calls to RAINN: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network are up some 338 percent since the start of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. TAASA– the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault– tells me that their call volume has tripled.
In a statement to CBS 11 Wednesday CEO Rose Luna said: “Because of them, we will not despair. We are inspired more than ever to tear down the systems that promote a culture of sexual violence and will continue working with advocates and members of our community to amplify the voices of survivors.”
Survivors like a woman who for this story goes by Michelle, who had this to say about the president’s concern that the world is now a dangerous place for men.
“If you raise your son to be a decent human being and respect boundaries and know that ‘no’ means ‘no’, then you shouldn’t have to worry about your son. You need to be worrying about your daughter.”