State senator describes 1976 assault, why she didn’t report

Associated Press
Published: 9/25/2018 12:03:57 PM

Sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the president’s reaction to them have prompted a New Hampshire state senator to come forward with her own story of assault.

Sen. Martha Hennessey, a Hanover Democrat seeking a second term, posted on her Facebook page last week that she was assaulted by a Dartmouth College classmate at a fraternity party in 1976. She said that she suffered multiple bruises from being thrown against a fireplace while about a dozen other students watched.

“I didn’t press charges, but word spread around campus – all false – about what occurred. Friends I had known my whole life quickly blamed me for the incident,” she wrote.

Hennessey said her parents and boyfriend wanted her to report the assault to police but she just wanted it to go away.

“This incident has lived with me for 42 years. My assaulter went on to become a physician,” she wrote. “I let him get away with it, because I was PROTECTING MYSELF.”

Hennessey said she came forward after President Donald Trump tweeted that the woman accusing Kavanaugh of a long-ago assault should have reported it at the time.

“It is NOT POSSIBLE for anyone to know what they would have done in my shoes or in the shoes of Christine Blasey Ford,” she wrote. “YOU HAVE NO IDEA. BOYS and MEN get away with it every day, everywhere. Victims are ridiculed, shamed, denied, and traumatized over and over again. Forever. DON’T ASSUME YOU KNOW.”

Hennessey’s father was the dean of Dartmouth’s business school at the time, and she said he later confronted her attacker and told him “he would never receive a Dartmouth diploma if he did it again.”

“This occurred in the early days of co-education at Dartmouth,” she said. “I was in the first class of co-education, and there were only 180 of us. And the message was loud and clear that you do not rock the boat.”

A second allegation emerged against Kavanaugh on Sunday, just a few hours after negotiators had reached an agreement to hold a public hearing for Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford, who accuses him of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh denies both accusations.

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