In an open letter to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford published in the Washington Post, broadcast journalist Connie Chung revealed that she was sexually assaulted by her "trusted family doctor" in her 20s.
Chung said she had never received a gynecological exam before, and was seeing her doctor for birth control. The doctor asked her to remove her clothes below the waist and place her feet in stirrups on the examination table, which she found "extremely odd," she wrote. "While I stared at the ceiling, his right index finger massaged my clitoris. With his right middle finger inserted in my vagina, he moved both fingers rhythmically," she wrote. "Suddenly, to my shock, I had an orgasm for the first time in my life. My body jerked several times. Then he leaned over, kissed me, a peck on my lips, and slipped behind the curtain to his office area."
Chung said that she has "kept my dirty little secret to myself," only telling her sisters after it happened, and later her husband. It's common for sexual assault survivors to delay coming forward publicly, or not want to speak out at all, for a variety of reasons. They may want control over their narrative, and a fear that details will get skewed in the public's hands. When the #MeToo movement began, Chung said she began telling anyone who would listen, but hesitated coming forward publicly in fear that her legacy career would be distilled into this fact about her. "I don’t want to tell the truth. I must tell the truth," she wrote. "As a reporter, the truth has ruled my life, my thinking. It’s what I searched for on a daily working basis."
While Chung's sexual assault took place in the 1960s, she said there are certain details — like the doctor's identity, office layout, and the incident itself — that have stuck with her. Similarly, Dr. Ford said in her testimony that, "indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter," between Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Judge, who she alleges was there the evening she was assaulted. As Dr. Ford explained, traumatic memories such as sexual assault end up "locked" in a person's brain, while other details may be insignificant. Chung wrote that even to this day, while the doctor who assaulted her has died, she can't look at the doctor's office when she drives by.
At the end of her letter, Chung addressed Dr. Ford directly. "I wish I could forget this truthful event, but I cannot because it is the truth," she said. "I am writing to you because I know that exact dates, exact years are insignificant. We remember exactly what happened to us and who did it to us. We remember the truth forever."
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).