When I was 15

I have something in common with Christine Ford.  When I was 15 a man tried to rape me, just as Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her.

It was, of course, different.  I’m male and it wasn’t at a party.  My Grandma lived in downtown Mankato, Minnesota, and I liked walking around the streets at night, seeing the downtown lights and action.

It was about 10:30 and I saw a man in by a doorway.  “Oh my God,” he said, “I need some help.  Can you help me?”  The man was black, so not wanting to seem racist I went over to him.  He grabbed and before I knew it I was in his apartment.

“I just want to play chess,” he said.   I agreed…scared, but not knowing what else to do, I sat down at table with a chess set.  I think we each made a move before he said, “You’re going to sleep with me.”

I jumped up and headed to the door, but he tackled me (turned out he had played football for Mankato State).  He grabbed me and took off my belt as he pushed me onto the bed.  I tried to move, but he then took off my shoes.   “Just relax, it won’t be as bad as you think,” he said, trying to be soothing.

I then lost it.  I started kicking, flailing, screaming.  He finally said “OK, this is all a mistake.”  He gave me my belt, which I put back on.  I got my shoes on.  He was very polite, “I’m sorry, this was a misunderstanding.”  I said, “OK, no problem, have a good night.”  I then ran to my Grandma’s apartment.

My Grandma and my cousin Richard (who died young, unfortunately) heard my story.  My Grandma wanted to call the police.  Richard took out a knife and wanted to go cut the guy up.  I said no.  Nothing happened.  I got away.  Let’s just let it be.  Then it’s over – reporting it or trying to strike back keeps it alive.

Later my Grandma sent me a newspaper clipping.  James, the attempted rapist, had been sentenced to life in prison for murder.  He killed someone resisting him.  He was then himself killed in prison.

If I had the courage to come forward, maybe he would not have murdered someone.  But I don’t feel guilty about it – I did what was best for me, making the situation go away.

So when I think of Christine Ford, having a good life and having overcome the trauma of that attempt, I admire the fact she is willing to do her civic duty to come forward.  She’s getting death threats and her family is in hiding.  This is real for her again.  But maybe she can save us from having a predator on the court.

I can still picture his apartment perfectly.  The blue walls, the quilt on his bed, the chess set, it’s vivid in my memory.  That’s why I know Christine Ford can remember that night Kavanaugh attempted to rape her. Those memories stay strong.

This isn’t the same situation but I can’t help but empathize with another 15 year old who was a victim of attempted rape, but who got away.  I believe her.

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  1. #1 by Scott Erb on October 1, 2018 - 00:03

    One part of this story I never told my parents or anyone else. My story at the time was that he just grabbed me off the street. I didn’t say that when he asked for help I went over to him, making myself vulnerable. i was so ashamed that I had fallen for that rouse that I left that out. As I write about it, I have tears in my eyes, it’s bringing back a memory I thought was long buried. I can imagine what Christine Ford is going through. People are no doubt questioning why she was at that party. But predators are predators, and they bear the guilt.

  2. #2 by Jade Morley on October 1, 2018 - 02:24

    Your kind heart may have led you to that door but it doesn’t deserve any shame. As you said, the predators are the ones who bear that guilt. I’m so glad your kind heart endured the pain and kept going anyway, because you are a gift to those of us who know you and I feel lucky to count myself among them. Thank you for sharing your story Scott.

  3. #3 by lbwoodgate on October 1, 2018 - 14:06

    It takes real courage to convey this awful emotional incident in your life Scott. Kudos for finding the strength to do so.

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