For two women by an elevator, for Loretta Weinberg, and especially for my young friend –

An hour ago, Senator Loretta Weinberg posted this to Facebook:

“OK here goes.

“I am 83 years old and I still remember the EXACT moment and EXACTLY where I was at age 13 when I was first horribly groped and forcibly kissed by a middle aged man who had been welcome visitor in my home. And no I never told anyone till now. His name was Ben Laverty. And no I am not confused. And yes that was a long time ago.”

In the early hours of this morning, a much younger friend of mine who I’ve known since he was a teen posted – also to Facebook – the excruciating details of his rape as a very little boy in a place where he should have been safe. I can’t give you details, because I would never give him away, and that might. It would wound him. And frankly, I am always afraid we may lose him; he carries this assault forward into his life. He probably only sees its contribution to his troubles and limitations in life. I don’t know that he sees that around this cruel undermining of his independence and confidence, he has grown himself into one of the finest men I know, one who resonates with the hurt of others, who seeks out injustices for what solidarity he can offer.

Nothing like this ever happened to me, no use of me when I was vulnerable, from people I should have trusted. As a child, I was the target of 3 sexual assaults – straight-up rape attempts –  that were miraculously interrupted, but they were from strangers, and I was saved by strangers. This only added to my already street-smart sense of stranger-danger, of waryness.  My people, my neighbors, loved, supported and protected me. There are people for whom that’s not true, and that must be devastating. And there are people whose assaults, whose rapes, were not interrupted by strangers, or one-piece swimsuits, or anything else. Two of them confronted Senator Jeff Flake this morning in an elevator after word got out he was a yes vote on Kavanaugh.

And now it’s Jeff Flake calling for a delay in the full Senate’s vote, as Senate Judiciary voted 11-10 along party lines to recommend Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Dems on Senate Judiciary called for this, Dr. Ford did, women and men in New Jersey and everywhere are flooding every media they can get access to to demand the same. Right now, the Republicans are in panic mode, plotting their way forward. Flake is calling for a week; Donald Trump has final say in ordering the FBI probe that Dr. Ford’s credible testimony warrants.

We owe thanks to those two women who confronted Flake in the elevator, with all those cameras and reporters around. It exposed them in a way I’ve never had to be exposed, but feel deep in my bones. Thanks, too, to Loretta, and to my young male friend, for this gift to us of their own terrible moments. Loretta will be fine; Loretta is a tree trunk. But my friend … I wish I could go back and hear out that little boy and let him cry and talk as much as he wanted, and tell him that despite how fragile he may always feel, he has grown into one of the strongest, most deeply honorable men I’ve ever known. I wish it so hard.



Comments (4)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    I wonder if a one-piece swimsuit could or should become a symbol of the age in which we live like a modern-day chastity belt. As a father of a daughter entering adolescence, is it crazy that I think that I should buy her a bunch of one piece swimsuits that she could wear underneath her clothes to any party that she might go to, knowing that it could be the difference between being raped or not?

    While I would never seriously consider buying a gun, because I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with the damn thing, I have, mostly in jest, but partially not, talked about getting an NRA membership card that I could show to future boyfriends (I am still rooting for the possibility that my daughter might be gay, but all signals to date point in the opposite direction) as an alternative form of intimidation.

    1. LK

      Survivors do not usually speak up at the time. Especially years ago when our culture was different. I know because my father was a pedophile.

      1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

        LK –
        This is one of the most extraordinary comments I think have ever been posted to this blog. I can’t imagine the pain, betrayal, and personal growth and victory behind it. You’re brave as hell to write this down.

  2. NJBlech

    Back in 1987, conservative Alabama Senator Howell Heflin surprised many when he voted against Robert Bork. He used the old saying “When in doubt, don’t” to justify his vote, noting a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land was too much to risk. Many of the fence sitting senators today acknowledge they have doubts (Senator Flake said exactly that this week), yet they remain open to voting for him. The standard of proof to convict someone of a crime should not be applied when elevating one to the Supreme Court. Doubts about a nominee should result in one voting no.


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