After Fifty Years, a Woman Tells Her Story of Abuse

The Pain She Could Hold in No Longer

William Spivey
3 min readNov 16

Photo by Tatiana Zanon at Unsplash

I was sitting alone in a small workplace breakroom; at maximum, it will comfortably hold 8–10 people, and often it is empty. I had been there for a few minutes when an elderly white woman entered the room, placing her things not quite across from me but in the next seat over. I knew her first name, and we’d often said hello in passing. She had a couple of microwavable dishes she’d brought from home. One contained some pasta she’d heated up, and the other had fruit. I was eating a sandwich I’d purchased because I was too lazy to bring a lunch and chose not to go out that day.

Her body was betraying her; she had a slight hunch and varicose veins. I suspected she was working past normal retirement age. I guessed her to be in her late 60s or early 70s, but I had never inquired about her circumstances. We worked in the same building but in different departments; I might see and speak to her once or twice a month. I mentioned her food “smells good.” She offered me a sample, which I declined, and we went about eating in silence.

I was checking the news on my cell phone when she asked, “Have you been following the Kavanaugh hearings?”

I said, “I have, very closely, as a matter of fact.”

She said, “I watched as much of Dr. Ford’s testimony as possible before coming to work. I believe her!”

“I do, too.”

By then, I’d looked up from my phone; she wasn’t looking at me but somewhat off in the distance. She said nothing for a while, and I returned to the news. A couple of minutes passed, and she spoke again.

“I told my daughter yesterday for the first time what I experienced; I remember it now as if it were yesterday. What happened to me was over 50 years ago, and I could tell Ford was telling the truth. I’d never told anyone before, but I had to tell someone, so I told her.

The last time I saw the man was when he preached at my father’s funeral. He was the pastor…

William Spivey

I write about politics, history, education, and race. Follow me at and support me at