- I am 16 and working upstairs in the “Bargain Attic” of a clothing store by myself. A man emerges from a dressing room naked from the waist down and masturbating as he walks toward me. I run downstairs and lock myself in an office, then tell the (female) manager what happened. She calls the police, but makes me stay to finish my shift–alone again–despite the fact that my whole body is shaking.
- I am 15 and at a college party with my girlfriend. We are out of town several hours from where we live and visiting her brother at a private, Catholic university. I lose track of her. A friend of the brother offers to take me where she is. Instead, he takes me to his house, saying she is on her way. He gives me more alcohol and starts to kiss me, which I like, because he is a star athlete. But then he forces himself on me although I am screaming and he rapes me. I look up to see his three roommates watching from across the room. Then he forces me to take a shower and drops me off at the house where she was staying. I tell no one because I believe it was my fault for getting drunk and letting him kiss me.
- I’m 22 and working my first job as a reporter at a mid-size daily newspaper in Southern California. A photographer, who is a married father and 20 years my senior, writes me a 6-page single-spaced letter about his sexual fantasies about me. I show it to my boss, who sends me to talk to the (female) publisher. She accuses me of doing something to “provoke” him. I talk to a friend who has gone on assignment with the guy. She tells me he has forced his tongue down her throat. We both leave the paper. He stays and is promoted.
- I am covering the trial of a man who raped his girlfriend’s 15-year-old daughter. When the girl begins testifying, I run from the courtroom blinded by tears and throw up in a garbage can in the hallway. A court-appointed counselor who is there for the girl sees me run from the courtroom and finds me on the floor of the bathroom. She sits with me, talks to me, and finally convinces me to go to counseling. I am 27.