Dr. Christine Margaret Blasey Ford is an American hero and survivor of an alleged sexual assault by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Her courage emboldens me to say to you reading this post, that I too, was sexually assaulted as a 7 year boy in Brooklyn, New York. I was in the New Lots Avenue park, in East New York, Brooklyn. I was grabbed by several boys who held my arms while the primary perpetrator, an older adolescent at the time, known to me only as “Minor,” approached me with his penis exposed. The other boys included one named Carl, the other names are no longer known to me. I recall that there were four of them. As Minor approached me I noticed a man I knew as a customer from my father’s restaurant, was sitting on a park bench with a girlfriend. Sonny was his name. I yelled his name several times. He didn’t come to help me, but by calling to him, the other boys let go of my arms and I was able to escape.

This was not my first encounter with Minor. One time, prior to this incident, I was sitting on a friends step with two brothers, in front of an apartment building next door to their home. I was 7 and Scott and Joel were probably 5 and 7. Minor came walking down the street and when he reached us, he took out his penis and peed on the younger boy. We were frozen in fear and could not move. When he left the boys ran home to tell their father who came out of his house and berated me and the older brother for not fighting back.

These memories haunted me my entire life. I could not talk about these events to anyone until I became a psychology major in college.  As a child, I could never tell my father about these incidents for fear I would be branded a coward as Joel’s father did. As an adult I had years of PTSD and was hypervigilent, untrusting and intrapunitive, feeling like a coward. I fantasized for years about finding Minor and exacting severe revenge on him. I could never find him. However, I easily found my “self” to take it out on through drug abuse, over eating and social anxiety. My anger would well up whenever I felt or believed that others slighted, insulted, rejected, or unaccepted me.

The telling of my story and listening to the stories of others’ abuse and harassment through the years has given me a sense of validation, hope and relief that our pain does matter, we are not alone, and we do deserve justice.

I just want you to know that I stand with all of you as a survivor and as a treatment provider.

A personal message from Dr. Steven Kovner