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I am Christine Ford.

I am Christine Ford.

It’s the strange details I remember, even 31 years later.

I remember I drove to the party, held at country property owned by the family of two brothers I knew in high school.

I remember the weather the day and evening of the party was pleasant.

I remember there was a lot of dew on the grass in the morning. I remember that because I fled as quickly as I could when I woke up, and as I raced to find my car amongst all the others strewn haphazardly around the property, my feet quickly grew soaked from the early-morning condensation on the grass.

It was as wet as the tears falling down my face.

It was as wet as the foreign substance that had dribbled down my leg when I got up that morning.

It was as wet as my windshield was driving home, when the weather suddenly turned and the skies opened.

I am Christine Ford.

I remember the keg had been running slow, creating lines of thirsty and impatient teenagers who crowded around it, beseeching the Tapmaster to favor them with a cup. I remember someone thought the solution to that was to open the tap and let it run into a sink after closing the drain, thereby eliminating the Tapmaster entirely. I remember we dipped our cups into the sink then, and that a mess was made of our friends’ kitchen floor.

I remember someone thought it would be funny to throw some acid sheets into the sink.

I remember the music. Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead. Stevie Rae Vaughan made an appearance, as did the Talking Heads, but this party was more about the old-school stuff.

I remember we danced for hours, and it was a wonderful night of friendship, and fun, and too much alcohol.

I am Christine Ford.

So too, there are things I do not remember.

I do not remember what I was wearing, although I know I was wearing pants. I know this because I remember him tugging them down my hips. It was that tugging, after all, that woke me up and began my journey into Hell.

I do not remember where I told my parents I was going that night. I know only that I would not have told them where I was truly headed: to a remote piece of property outside Portland, with a house that would be shared by dozens of teens – boys and girls –  overnight. Still more would camp in the large fields, where they would also wake to the morning dew that clung to my sandals as I ran to my car.

I remember I wore sandals to that late-spring party, because I remember how wet my feet were when I ran away.

I do not remember what they looked like, though they were almost certainly Birkenstocks.

I do not remember what time I realized I had had too much to drink, and that I should find the sleeping bags my best friend Heather and I had set out a few hours before. I do not remember what color my sleeping bag was. I think I remember we placed them in a loft over the kitchen. I don’t remember if there was a door.

I do not remember falling asleep.

I will never forget waking up.

I am Christine Ford.

I will never forget the sour smell of his breath on me, as this boy I knew and considered a friend suddenly collapsed on top of me and fumbled to kiss me. I will never forget his tongue tasted of cigarettes and beer as he shoved it down my throat.

I will never forget my confusion as I woke from my beer-induced slumber to this boy grabbing at my pants, and how quickly he was able to slide them down to my ankles.

I will never forget having no concept of what was happening, or what was about to happen.

I will never forget what it felt like: this, my first sexual experience outside of a very limited number of make-out sessions with boys who would later reject me.

I will never forget fighting him and telling him to get off me. I will never forget that he put his hand over my mouth to quiet me, because there were people all around us.

I am Christine Ford.

Or rather, I wish I was. I wish I had been able to escape. I wish I had found a bathroom and locked myself away from my monster.

I will never forget how slippery he was – it was. I will never forget thinking “this cannot be how I lose my virginity,” only moments later to finally accept that this was, indeed, my how I would lose something I had been proud to possess.

I do not remember how long it took.

I remember crying. I remember he was confused as to why I was crying, and he stumbled away after finishing with me, seemingly insulted that I had not appreciated his attention more than I had.

I do not remember falling back asleep.

I do remember waking very early, and before remembering what had happened to me, being confused as to why my pants were still on me, but gathered around my ankles. I remember remembering, then. That, I remember.

I remember upon pulling my pants up and rising to find the bathroom, the foreign warm substance that fell out of the part of me I had been saving for someone special.

Someone special never came. Kenneth came instead, and Kenneth stole from me the last vestiges of innocence I had managed to retain through a challenging childhood.

I remember being surprised at the semen running down my leg. I remember being worried that I could become pregnant.

I remember telling my friends. None of us even considered that reporting Kenneth was an option. “Date rape,” or (more apropos to situations like mine) “acquaintance rape” was neither widely known or discussed in the 1980s.

I remember Maya: tough, beautiful, fiercely fabulous Maya, who saw my rapist at a bonfire we were both attending at the beach a few weeks later. I remember freezing up at the sight of him, my monster who had wandered down the beach from his own bonfire to ours.

Perhaps he was looking for friends.

Perhaps he was looking for another victim.

I remember Maya tackling him to the ground and screaming at him. I remember sand was flying all around, as someone went to pull them apart.

I do not remember what, if anything, he said when he was chased away, but I do remember the jeers from my friends, all of whom knew about what happened to me.

I am Christine Ford.

Christine Ford: You are me.

When I read your letter and how your assault impacted your life for decades, I knew you were telling the truth. I knew because your words could have come from my own mind and keyboard, even as I have never had the guts to write about what happened to me in any real detail.

There are millions of us. I remember that statistic from a women’s studies class I took in college.

I do not remember my professor’s name.

Whether or not you choose to testify before the Senate, and I hope and pray that you do, know that you are in good company with scores of other women still putting themselves back together after sexual violence was inflicted upon them.

Self-hatred? Check.

Eating disorder and other self-destructive behavior? Check.

Promiscuity, and making poor choices in future sexual partners? Check.

Extreme distrust of others? Check.

A persistent nagging belief that you aren’t worthy of real love and affection? Check.

I am Christine Ford, and she is me. Some of you reading this are Christine Ford. You are Robin. You are a million other women around the world, suffering in shame, and silence, and trying to forget what happened to you.

I can’t forget. I do not want to remember anymore.

I am Robin DesCamp, and my virginity was stolen from me in high school by a boy named Kenneth.

 

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Hillary Aubin

    This breaks my heart. I have confronted very aggressive behavior from men and was able to escape the 2 events that scared me the most but your story just breaks my heart. That piece of shit had no right to steal your innocence or what was yours to give. Dr. Ford’s story is real and it feels real. Women need to stay strong and stand together or we will not have the change we deserve, respect!

    1. Virginia Curry

      We stand behind you and believe you!! Don’t be fearful of telling your side.We give you great kudos for having the courage to come forward.
      Now you senators, do your job, and protect the Supreme Court Justices from candidates with this background!! You can’t change the stripes on a zebra!!!

  2. tahni

    Excellent writing of a horrific story. Vulnerability is strength as we grow older and weakness as we are younger.

  3. Sharon Simone

    I am so moved by your story. We actually have several mutual friends and have met back in the 80’s. I used to work in the wine business out in McMinnville. I am willing to bet we both have several friends with a similar story. I am sickened by the idea that Kavanaugh could actually end up in the highest court in the land and not in the defendants seat. You are brave to publish this story….I believe you and I believe Christine Ford. I hope this story crosses Kenneth’s path. I hope it makes him feel as shitty as he made you feel that night.
    Brief aside…..love your blogging!

  4. Chris Banks

    I was 17. My parents hated my boyfriend. They forced me to go on a date with a man who was 24 or they wouldn’t let me see my boyfriend again. They thought if I went out with a “nice man” I would forget about my boyfriend. That “nice man” was our insurance man, Johnny, a divorcee who always wore a white shirt and tie – the man of my parents’ dreams. He gave me lots of sweet drinks that night. I had never had sloe gin fizzes and had no idea what was happening until I started fighting him off, screaming and crying in the back seat of his car. I kicked the door open and a flashlight shone in the window and a policeman ordered him off me. The policeman told him to take me home (this was in 1965 and boys were expected to try this so he wasn’t in trouble). So the “nice man” wasn’t arrested or even held accountable. I was lucky. He drive me home. I never told anyone, especially my parents. It was my fault. Or that’s what I believed. I believe Dr. Ford. There are many women like me out there. We stay in the shadows until we feel safe. The Me Too movement came too late for me to get an apology – that “nice man”’ died in 2015.

  5. Mary Bowman

    I am horrified. How I wish I could have been there for you, but understand why not. Thank you for bravely sharing your nightmare, especially during this horrific time in our nation’s history. And yes, this happened to me too, though much later in life, and of course I was too scared and traumatized to tell anyone, other than a disinterested therapist many years alter. We are with you.

  6. Theresa Kennedy DuPay

    Beautiful Robin. Lovely essay. Thank you.

  7. Elizabeth DiSavino

    Thank you for your courage in sharing this.

  8. Gaile McGregor

    thank you. just…thank you.

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    1. Mary Bowman

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  11. Nessa Delmore

    Uuhhhhh! Say, maybe you should not have been drinking and remaining at a party that was “sketchy”.I am a woman, mother of daughters, grandmother to girls and aunt to nieces. I and my friends were all teen age girls at one time who knew of and recognized the dangers of drinking and alcohol fogged boys. There is a difference between a true violent sexual attack and putting yourself in harms way. I’m betting some of these alcohol muddled young men have no memory of what they did and would be ashamed of their behavior. If you are going to put your hand in the lions cage, be prepared to be bit and don’t whine about it years later. I am in full support of true “ Me too” victims but, come on now!!

    1. Robin DesCamp

      You are a coward and a fool.

  12. Mary Bowman

    If a person lacking in compassion wants to preach from her high 🐎horse, totally lacking in understanding or information, she should get her own blog. Post mindless blathering elsewhere. I don’t envy the young women in the life of someone who thinks she should sit in judgment of a brave woman with a tragic story to tell. And by the way, ignorant comments only harm the person posting them. Sorry to feed the troll, but……

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