IN THE CONTEXT of the singular moment America saw of me at the early January town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire yelling words they could not hear at Hillary Clinton, she was correct when she told me I was being "very rude." I knew I was rude. If there was a more polite way to ask Hillary for answers to my questions about her husband's alleged sexual assaults and cover ups, I would have preferred it.
But in the larger context of how America elects its president, it was the opposite of rude. It was an amalgam of patriotic duty, the embodiment of a promise I made long ago to stand up for survivors of sexual assault, and an act of rebellion against bullying intended to force silence and protect wrongdoers.
Those are the values I will be proud to have stood for when I'm on my deathbed. I will not wish that I had been more polite, more appropriate, and more ladylike, as some critiqued my actions. Consider a plaque hanging in Hillary Clinton's Salem, New Hampshire office. It reads: "Well behaved women seldom make history."
Telling people they should not be afraid to disclose that they have been sexually assaulted or raped, as Hillary Clinton did in September, without actually addressing what potentially happened in her own life, makes her rhetoric meaningless.
Her rhetoric is particularly meaningless to me, because I was a victim of sexual assault.
For a victim, admitting that a sexual assault has happened to you is only the first step of a long journey. I'll never forget one of the rapists I met in my twenties when my sexual assault survivors group went to the state prison to talk to convicted sex offenders. Like many sex offenders, he had been sexually assaulted as a young child. When he told his mother he was being repeatedly raped by a teenager in his neighborhood, his mother simply told him to take a different route home. I promised him that I would have helped him if I was the one he had turned to for help. For years, that was the worst treatment, other than outright murder, of a rape victim I had ever heard of.
That changed on the day Juanita Broaddrick called me and told me what Hillary Clinton had done to her.
My Conversation With Juanita Broaddrick
I HAD SEEN Broaddrick interviewed by Lisa Myers on "Dateline NBC" back in February 1999. I believed her, but had never heard Bill Clinton respond to the allegations. So when Al Gore brought his presidential campaign to my New Hampshire town in December 1999, I asked him if he believed Broaddrick. He answered my question as if I was asking about a consensual affair, not a rape. Gore responded that he did not see the interview, but that we should forgive then-President Clinton anyway.
A few days later I received a call from Juanita Broaddrick, who had seen me ask Gore the question on TV and wanted to thank me for asking it.
I already thought she was credible, but I took the opportunity to ask questions that people who told me she was not credible had been asking me. I ended up believing her even more than before. In that phone call, Juanita recounted her story of Hillary Clinton's actions in the weeks after her alleged rape: her confrontation and threatening squeezing of Juanita's arm at a fundraiser, reminding her that she was thankful for "all that she did" and asking if she clearly understood. Juanita made it clear to me that she thought Hillary was asking her to remain quiet about a rape, not an affair.
Juanita's account strikes many people as questionable and I know many dismiss it. Fair enough, but when I find myself in a situation where I suspect somebody is lying, I assess what possible motives they have to be untruthful. I do not have any reason to believe that Juanita Broaddrick is a liar. She is a respected business woman who was very reluctant to come forward with her story. She had nothing to gain and much to lose in doing so. It must have be even more difficult when the man in question is the attorney general, then the governor of your state, and then the president of the United States.
What is the Clinton's track record with truthfulness? When Gore responded to my question about rape with advice to just forgive Clinton for an affair, I began to think that pretending not to know who Broaddrick is was part of an intentional strategy to sweep her credible claim under the rug.
My First Interaction With Hillary Clinton
WHEN HILLARY RAN for US Senate in 2000, she publicly condemned men who had groped dozens of women at a parade. It struck me as odd that such a thing suddenly mattered to her.
So that year, I led a demonstration outside Hillary's New York City campaign headquarters, asking her to answer the same question I asked Al Gore. I had a video tape of Broaddrick's Dateline interview hand-delivered to her office. I also sent a copy via certified mail and soon got back the light green postcard that tells you it was delivered.
But on the evening before the demonstration, a letter from the IRS arrived: I was being audited. It wasn't the audit that bothered me as much as the fear that I had been targeted. I had received warnings of all sorts of crazy things: that I would be audited, my pets would be killed, my phone tapped, my car fiddled with. When I got advice from respected people such as Diana Woznicki (an investigator in the House impeachment trial of Clinton), that it would be unwise for me to lead such a demonstration, I thought long and hard about cancelling my plans. I decided to go ahead with it because in a free country, nobody should be afraid of retaliation for simply asking a question. Until that letter from the IRS arrived, I was able to brush off all of the warnings with confidence that I would not be bullied. I had been audited. Perhaps uncoincidentally, so had Juanita Broaddrick.
In July of 2007, when Mrs. Clinton first ran for president, I attended one of her campaign rallies. There was no question-and-answer period, but I went up to meet Clinton after the speech and handed her the light green postcard to sign. When she held it up, I asked her if she believed Juanita Broaddrick. She told me she did not know who that was. I replied that I sent her a video of the interview Broaddrick gave to Lisa Myers and I knew her office got it because she was holding the green postcard in her hand. She repeated that she didn't know who Broaddrick was.
I tried to explain, but she was moving away from me and her supporters were yelling at me to shut up and go home. The music was blaring. That's when the Secret Service grabbed me and told me I had to leave. Walking to my car, I thought it was strange that nobody in the media, who must have seen the commotion, wanted to know what I had asked her.
My Second And Third Interactions With Hillary Clinton
THIS PAST SUMMER, I asked Hillary again about Juanita Broaddrick at the Independence Day Parade in Gorham, the event where the press were infamously corralled with rope. As she walked by, I asked her about Broaddrick. She said - again - she had no idea who that was and waved her hand like she was pushing a mosquito away, making a sound that indicated zero interest in the matter. So much for that. I had tried again and I still failed to get an answer.
When Hillary said this September that people who say they have been sexually assaulted should be believed and they have her support, I just rolled my eyes.
Then last November, she went to the VFW Hall not far from my home in Derry. I stood alone outside with a sign, feeling a little foolish, but carried on. A camera man from NBC was nearby and I assured him I was friendly. He came over and we chatted about what I was protesting: a lack of action or answers from Hillary on serious charges against Bill Clinton of sexual assault. I asked him to please send the reporter he was working with over to talk to me. He declined, saying that nobody cares about that stuff.
I eventually went inside to the event, and was there for about five minutes when suddenly, in unison, five Secret Service agents came over to me, unfolded chairs, and surrounded me on all sides. I was afraid to move. Because I didn't want to find out what would happen if I passed them, I did nothing. I pretended not to notice. Throughout Clinton's speech I politely raised my hand when it was question time but was never called on. The sudden show of force came across to me as some sort of message. That made me angry.
After the speech, I went in the other direction, away from the Secret Service men. I approached Hillary again, this time asking her about the discordance in the stories surrounding why she took on a case to defend Thomas Alfred Taylor, a man who was convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl in Arkansas in the 1970s.
What bothered me about the Thomas Alfred Taylor case was that, in previously-unpublished tape recordings unearthed last year, Hillary is heard on a recording saying that she knew the man was guilty, laughing about the ease of passing lie detector tests, and accusing the girl of making up stories to get attention.
She told me that she had to take the case. I replied that I thought it was in her book, that she herself wrote, that she took the case on as a favor. A man standing next to her told me he would get back to me with clarification about it.
I gave him my business card. I did not hear from him.
The Day I Heckled Hillary Clinton
THE NEXT THING I heard about Hillary Clinton and sexual assault was in December, when a questioner asked Hillary if Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones should be believed. Hillary responded that, "everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence." What evidence is now out there that would cause us to disbelieve them? Why didn't the media ask her about it afterwards? I've watched this story more closely than most since 1999 and I didn't know what evidence Hillary was talking about.
On New Year's Day, I found out the Clinton campaign was going to be in my town that Sunday. I signed up using my real name, got a confirmation number, and thought all day about whether yelling out these questions at Hillary Clinton, which I'd asked so many times and heard so many dismissive answers to, was the right thing to do.
The only other option I faced was accepting that the people of this country and our leaders don't care about rape and sexual assault victims when a powerful man is accused of them. That man is then above the law. When the woman closest to him enables his behavior and protects him from discovery by threatening his victims to remain silent, and then is presented to me as a champion of women, the disconnect is more than I can take. I felt like the little boy who yells out that the emperor has no clothes on. I decided that I had to go there and ask my question in any way that I could and would do so at the moment the question portion of her event began.
I went into the venue early, got a seat up at the front and waited. I even told the talkative, friendly man sitting next to me exactly what I was going to do. He thought it was a bad idea and tried to talk me out of it. I was expecting to be thrown out of the event or arrested, but I believed so much in my cause that I did it anyway.
Hillary told me last July in Gorham that she has no idea who Broaddrick is. Now she claims there is evidence to prove that Broaddrick is lying. That makes no sense. Why didn't Lisa Myers find anything to discredit Broaddrick? Why didn't NBC's army of lawyers find anything? They would have welcomed any reason not to show that interview, but they did not find it.
These are the thoughts I was first shouting out at the start of question time at the town hall.
Hillary ignored me, and answered the question of the first person she called on. When she was looking around to pick out a second person, I stood up again and yelled out that she has no evidence that Juanita Broaddrick is lying.
Then I said the most bold thing I have ever said in my life: I told her that I believe she knows her husband raped Juanita, which is why she refuses to talk about it. After I said "You believe it's true" was when she told me I was being "very rude."
Remember, Juanita told me herself that Hillary threatened her to stay quiet, which makes this Hillary's problem to explain.
At that point, I had said what I wanted to. I knew Hillary had heard me. I was drained. After a Secret Service guy told me to stop being disruptive, a part of me wanted to keep pushing - I was so mad. But I'm not like that. I had made my point and I was emotionally exhausted. The gun control advocates behind me were talking about how they were going to "team up and do something" if I yelled again. Like what? Shoot me? Pull my hair? Put their hands over my mouth?
I wonder what those women would think if they were friends with Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, or Paula Jones, or if their daughter was Monica Lewinsky or that 12-year-old girl who was raped by the man Hillary defended; if they knew about my history, the harassment; that I also have had a pile of dead fish dropped in my yard and a punctured tire; that I've been audited; that I've received threatening phone calls from people I don't know; that I have the memory of those Secret Service agents surrounding me last November when I was as polite, appropriate and ladylike as a person could possibly be.
SOME OF THE other state representatives in Concord were shocked by my behavior. One representative told me she did not know I had it in me. So far this term, I have avoided speaking on the House floor because I don't like the idea of talking just to hear my voice. In order to push myself onto any stage, I need to have something really important to say.
Whether it's a sexual assault or a consensual affair, Hillary Clinton is a traitor to the core values of feminism. By staying with and protecting her husband, she robbed the country of an opportunity to affirmatively say that chronic sexual harassment and abuse of women is not acceptable behavior. Instead Juanita's story, and others, were rolled over by the Clinton's political machine.
Like it or not, nothing changes the fact that Hillary is an enabler. She doesn't care who it hurts, as long as she has power. If you dare say that out loud, you will incur the wrath of an army of vicious Hilllary supporters who pretend to be feminists, but then suddenly become obsessed with the idea that women who dare to think for themselves must be polite, appropriate and ladylike at all times, or else their heretical thoughts are worth less than nothing. They ignore that I asked this question politely many times before, only to receive dismissive answers. One woman on my Facebook page even suggested I go to charm school. Seriously?
At any rate, if these women are indicative of who Hillary attracts as supporters, she really needs to get rid of that little sign about "well-behaved women" by the front door of her Salem office.