Connie Chung has revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a family doctor when she was in her 20s.
In an open letter to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who testified last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee with sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the broadcast journalist details her own experience with sexual assault and how it changed her life forever. “I, too, was sexually assaulted — not 36 years ago but about 50 years ago,” Chung begins her letter, published in the Washington Post Wednesday. “I have kept my dirty little secret to myself. Silence for five decades. The molester was our trusted family doctor. What made this monster even more reprehensible was that he was the very doctor who delivered me on Aug. 20, 1946. I’m 72 now.”
“It was the 1960s. I was in college. The sexual revolution was in full swing. The exact date and year are fuzzy. But details of the event are vivid — forever seared in my memory,” Chung continues. “Am I sure who did it? Oh yes, 100 percent. I was a cool college coed but not that cool. I was still a virgin in the ’60s. I did advance to the so-called heavy petting stage, short of intercourse. I assumed that would come next.”
Chung writes that she went to her family doctor, whose office was in his home, to ask for birth control.
“He drew the curtain, asking me to remove my clothes below the waist while he sat at his desk by the bay window,” she details. “When I was ready, he came to the examination area and installed stirrups on one end of the cushioned examination table.”
“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,” Chung writes, adding that he coached her verbally. “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. I don’t remember saying anything to him. I could not even look at him. I quickly dressed and drove home.”
Chung states in her letter that, at the time, she may have told one of her sisters, but she did not tell her parents or report him to the authorities.
“It never crossed my mind to protect other women. Please understand, I was actually embarrassed about my sexual naivete. I was in my 20s and knew nothing about sex. All I wanted to do was bury the incident in my mind and protect my family,” she writes. “My mother could not read or write English, let alone drive. From then on, I told her our family doctor lives too far away. We’re not going to see him anymore.”
Chung goes on to say that “years later” she told her husband, Maury Povich, about the assault.
“When the superb reporting of the New Yorker‘s Ronan Farrow and the New York Times‘s Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor helped touch off this intimate discussion, my dirty little secret reared its ugly head and I told anyone who would listen,” she shares. “I think the doctor died almost 30 years ago in his 80s. I’ve driven past his home/office many times but refused to look at it. Just yesterday, I found the house on Google Maps. Seeing it again, I freaked out.”
She then tells Dr. Ford, “I, too, am terrified as I reveal this publicly. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. Can you? If you can’t, I understand. I am frightened, I am scared, I can’t even cry.”
Chung concludes her letter by writing, “I wish I could forget this truthful event, but I cannot because it is the truth. 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. Bravo, Christine, for telling the truth.”
Leading up to Ford’s testimony, a number of celebrities stepped forward to share their own sexual assault stories. On Thursday, Busy Philipps revealed to her social media followers that she was raped at the age of 14. Girls alum Jemima Kirke also shared the story of her rape on Thursday in a tweet to her fans, writing, “Im hugely grateful to this woman today. #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord.”
Lili Reinhart and Ashley Judd have also recently taken to Twitter to join the #WhyIDidntReport movement.