I need to dump it all out. This Kavanaugh stuff has been getting under my skin all week. I know I’m not the only one. I didn’t mean to start a big thing with my Facebook post today. But I couldn’t be silent about it anymore.
Why didn’t she report? Why didn’t she report???
There’s a million reasons why someone doesn’t report. Here’s mine:
You want the story? I remember every detail. Vividly.
My Economics teacher French kissed me when I was a freshman in High School. It came out of nowhere. It was the last day of school before Christmas break. It was snowing and basketball practice had been cancelled. I had his class eighth period and he’d just returned an exam we’d taken. The bell rang and everyone poured out of class. As I was walking down the hall looking at my test paper, I realized I had a question.
Why’d he dock me points on that essay question?
I turn around and head back to the classroom. As I enter, he’s lounging at the back of the room on a desk. He points a long spindly finger towards me as I approach.
Ms. Moriello, you know what that means.
Huh? I say, looking back towards the door and then up in the direction of his pointing finger, to where a sprig of mistletoe hangs.
You know what that means, he restates plainly. He opens his arms out wide, summoning me over with a smile.
I give a good natured chuckle, rolling my eyes, moving obediently into his arms like a good girl, doing what I was told.
I was expecting a hug. He gave lots of girls hugs all the time. Then he leans down. It feels like it’s happening in slow motion. I think he’s going to give me a peck on the cheek. Instead, he thrusts his tongue inside my mouth.
Mr. Davis! I yell and time speeds up again. I push him away, running for the door and out into the darkened, empty hallway.
What the fuck just happened??
I immediately tell my best friend and swear her to secrecy. I beg her not to tell anyone. I am filled with shame. Embarrassment. I am totally freaked out. I can’t believe that just happened.
My older brother picks us up from school moments later. He can sense immediately that something is up and presses us with questions until I finally break down and tell him. I swear him to secrecy, too. I make him promise that he won’t say anything to anyone. I protect the predator. Because: see above.
But that’s not the only time. There was also the Doctor.
Because I was 19 and he was a Doctor. Because I was on an examining table and couldn’t believe what had happened. Because I was frozen. Because I kept playing it over and over and over again in my mind. Was it my imagination? Did he just do that? Did he just say that?? Did I take it the wrong way? Interpret it the wrong way? Because it wasn’t “that bad”. Because no one would believe me. Because there were no witnesses. #somanyreasons #whyididntreport
Then there was that final time. The overnight train coming back to London from Amsterdam. The guy in the trench coat. I wake up to his hand down my pants, his fingers moving underneath my underwear. That was the last time.
I wish with all my heart I had punched him in the face. Gorged his eyes out.
Instead I jump up, pull away, sit for a moment in stunned disbelief. And then I start to yell. I start to scream. At the top of my lungs. I begin cursing him. I wake the whole train. He runs.
I find a conductor. I tell. I tell! They call the London police, who are waiting on the platform as the train doors open. They came. They came. I was going to get this mother fucker.
We wait for the entire train to empty. They come on board and search every car. We can’t find him. Anywhere. We never do. Maybe he jumped as the train was pulling into the station? Maybe the tall, ghostly figure slipped through the crowd unnoticed. I’ll never know.
From that moment on, I vow that the next time somebody touches me without my permission I would not only report it; I’d go crazy on the person. I wouldn’t stop. There would be blood. You’d have to pull me off.
But in the moment, when that happens, especially the first (or second) time? You are frozen. Time suspends. You don’t know what the right thing to do is. You want to forget it happened. You want to believe it didn’t happen.
Third time’s the charm, I guess.
My stories are minor, compared to what others have been through. Friends of mine. Family of mine.
Most of us have these stories. And most of us never reported.
There are so many reasons why.