On Thursday, September 27, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford told her truth in public for the very first time in Washington, D.C. Millions of Americans and countless others around the world listened to the fear in her voice and the courage in her words. For many of us, we felt the pain of knowing that she had held on to this truth for so long and that in the end, she might not be believed. And even if she were believed, people might not care. Watching this testimony and all that has transpired since has left us feeling despondent, desperate, and angry.
On that same day, September 27, Janae*, age 17, was also telling her truth right here in Massachusetts. A few weeks before, Janae had been commercially sexually exploited by a man who had offered her a ride home from a bus stop. Despite her fear and shame, Janae knew that she needed to tell someone what happened. Fortunately, she chose a trusted adult who believed her and supported her in reporting the abuse.
Following her report, a forensic interview was scheduled.** Much like Dr. Ford, Janae was anxious and fearful – and she too, like Dr. Ford, was sharing what had happened to her in hopes to make a difference and help others. Unlike Dr. Ford, Janae had a trauma-informed compassionate team that listened to her together so that she only had to tell it once One by one, the members of that team told her that they had heard her. That what she said mattered.
Thank you for telling us.
Now that you have told us, we are going to do everything we can to keep you safe and to keep other girls safe.
You are brave.
We believe you.
While the last two weeks have battered us heart and soul, we have seen what it looks like when survivors like Janae are truly heard and we have witnessed the powerful mobilization for change when they are not. We believe Dr. Ford and thank her for her courage and for bringing the voices of survivors to the forefront. Our voices are getting louder. Our voices are being heard. We have every reason to work harder. We have every reason to fight. And we have every reason to hope.
*Name has been changed.
My Life My Choice is grateful to the compelling work of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Massachusetts that help us support and protect our children. For more information, please go to http://machildrensalliance.org/.