When I was assaulted by a stranger nearly 40 years ago, I was a professional with a lawyer for a boyfriend. Still, the court only convicted my assailant of driving while intoxicated. If a professional with private counsel couldn’t make an assault charge stick, why would a teenager like Christine Blasey ever have tried?
When I was assaulted by a stranger nearly 40 years ago, I had two advantages over the typical victim: I wrote for a daily newspaper, and I was dating a lawyer. No one questioned my ability to accurately observe and report what happened. And someone was standing beside me in the courthouse who cared about me, knew the law and knew what it could do.
Still, the court found my assailant guilty only of driving while intoxicated. Instead of a life-shattering prison term, he suffered the inconvenience of living a few months without a driver’s license.
If a professional with private counsel couldn’t make an assault charge stick, who could? Why would anyone try?
I ask these questions because my Facebook feed is full of people suggesting that if there really had been an assault, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford would have reported it at the time. And it’s also full of people who seem to think that drinking to excess is not such a big deal, even when it’s done by illegally by a minor, as Judge Brett Kavanaugh was back then.
My attacker was a grown man driving (as it turned out) an appropriately named Dodge Ram. My best guess, almost four decades later, is that he’d been drinking at a bar just two parking lots away from the newspaper in Lowell, Massachusetts where I worked. The bar’s parking lot had a clear view of the lot where The Sun’s employees parked our cars. Perhaps he saw me climb into my Volkswagen Beetle at the end of my long night, after I had turned in my account of some government meeting or another.
I didn’t realize I was being followed until I was a long way out of the city, driving the freeways back to my apartment some 26 miles away. I could see headlights, way too close, glaring through my rear window. I tried speeding up. The headlights stayed with me. I slowed down, trying to force the headlights to pass. They slowed down and stayed with me, still glaring in my rearview mirror. When I exited the beltline to get on the highway that would take me home, the headlights followed. Continue reading