It was a day full of emotional testimonies on Thursday between Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year old who accused Kavanaugh, of sexual assault 36 years ago.
40-year old Mae Flores, a double sexual assault victim, says — witnessing how the Kavanaugh issue unfolds gives her unpleasant flashbacks.
“This Kavanaugh hearings, although I appear that I’m holding it together, anytime I see a headline, or hear a very explicit story, the way things have been in the media lately, you see very grotesque videos, and people are just posting things, it is very triggering. I start to retreat in my shell, and have a difficult time communicating with others.”
Mae, who was sexually assaulted when she was 18 years old, was sexually abused again when she was 36; both instances by strangers. Mae says, watching Christine Blasey Ford tell the details of the alleged assault, she can fully relate and is proud of victims like Ford who are coming out, unafraid.
“Continue to live. That’s the best revenge you can give to your assaulter and the best gift you can give to yourself. It’s empowerment.”
And just like other women and men who are coming forward to tell their stories of assault, Mae says — it is not easy but it has to be done.
“Allow yourself to feel it. Allow yourself to feel the fear, and protect yourself. And the next day, or the next hour, you’ll be okay.”
For Mae, the Kavanaugh controversy is very telling; that sexual assault exists. Mae says, Christine Blasey Ford represents the voice of many victims, and just like her, victims are encouraged to do something rather than stay quiet.
“That’s enough, twice in a lifetime, two strangers is enough, and it’s time for me to come out. In my case, it was the second time that it trigerred that; that something is needed to be done and I need to be more active in sharing my experience and my message so it doesn’t happen to other people.”e)
Mae is a Goodwill ambassador for various nonprofits focused on prevention of violence against women and girls. She has spoken on the topic before the United Nations, and has also shared her assault experience in a TED talk.