Roy Moore and My Molestations: When Political News is a Painful Trigger

Roy Moore and My Molestations: When Political News is a Painful Trigger November 16, 2017

I was 13 when I was molested. I was attacked by a stranger. Leigh Corfman was predated by a seemingly respectable man in a position of authority. My child molester had escaped from incarceration before he attacked me. Perhaps Roy Moore had sent people like him to prison as Assistant District Attorney before he offered to watch the 14-year-old while her mom testified in a custody hearing. He then creepily proceeded to give the girl his phone number.

Moore trolled for a victim outside a courtroom; I testified in one against my molester.

I think it’s a clue that the future Senate candidate picked Leigh up around the corner from her house for their first “date.” Moore, then in his early 30s, drove her to his apartment. It wasn’t long before he had removed Leigh’s clothes and stripped down to his tighty whities. From there he proceeded to fondle Leigh through her undergarments and place her hand on his erect penis.

She had never touched a penis before.

Many Alabama Republicans excuse Roy Moore's assaults. Will child molestation soon join the list of reprehensible behaviors normalized in the Trump era?
YouTube screenshot of Roy Moore waving his gun around.

Leigh, as quoted in the explosive Washington Post story, said:

I wanted it over with — I wanted out. Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.

I felt the same way.

In both instances, the men engaged in textbook pedophillic behavior. The main difference between our experiences is that Moore drove the girl home when she insisted. One landed in prison for his crime. Another could be the next senator from Alabama.

I won’t get into the specifics of my case, other than to mention that this was the second time I was molested. The second — and worst — molestation brought an old memory into my maturing mind. I wouldn’t say it was a recovered memory; it just reminded me of something I was too young to understand at the time. It happened sometime before I was eight, and he told me to close my eyes. I won’t go into the details of this molestation either, though I will say that I was fortunate not to have been raped either time.

My first molester was my babysitter, which is basically what Roy Moore was as he sat outside the courtroom with Leigh Corfman. Her mom remembers feeling grateful and relieved that her daughter was being looked after by a man of such high standing.

Many Alabama Republicans excuse Roy Moore's assaults. Will child molestation soon join the list of reprehensible behaviors normalized in the Trump era?
MSGT Michelle Blake, Via Air Force Medical Services.

While I’m avoiding most details, what I will say is the impact my molestations have had on me. I will begin by noting that I feel no responsibility for what was done to me.

Guilt has no place for victims of sexual abuse.

That’s why this account by Ms. Corfman in the WaPo article breaks my heart:

“I felt responsible,” she says. “I felt like I had done something bad. And it kind of set the course for me doing other things that were bad.”

She says that her teenage life became increasingly reckless with drinking, drugs, boyfriends, and a suicide attempt when she was 16.

I now realize that I was wrong to wave off counselling after my second molestation. It’s true that my primary emotion was relief that something worse hadn’t happened. Indeed, after he tied me up, I was afraid my molester was going to kill me. Still, what happened that day continues to affect me in ways I don’t like to admit even to myself.

I’m an atheist who had a secular upbringing — from a non-Christian background — but my view of sex have been colored by my molestations. I’ve never been taught that sex was a sin, yet unconsciously it feels dirty to me anyway.

Many Alabama Republicans excuse Roy Moore's assaults. Will child molestation soon join the list of reprehensible behaviors normalized in the Trump era?
Via Pixabay, public domain.

This is getting a bit personal, but I need to convey that such experiences can’t help but color your adult relationships and your attitudes about something that’s normal, natural, feels wonderful, and is fundamental to a full life.

I don’t know anything about Leigh Corfman, though I think I understand a thing or two about Roy Moore. The only difference is that my molester raped an adult before me and one after before he was apprehended.

Roy Moore, on the other hand, has exhibited a continuing pattern of predatory behavior specifically toward teenagers, which he hasn’t completely denied. Indeed, Moore began flirting with Beverly Young Nelson when she was 15. Yet, with her, he waited until she was 16 before assaulting her.

Perhaps signing Beverly’s yearbook — and seeing that she was now the legal age of consent in Alabama —  was what inspired him to “helpfully” offer her a ride home. She felt safe accepting the ride from a District Attorney.

Sound familiar?

Instead, Moore drove to an unlit alley behind the restaurant where she worked and proceeded to fondle the girl and attempt to force her into oral sex. She strongly resisted.

Many Alabama Republicans excuse Roy Moore's assaults. Will child molestation soon join the list of reprehensible behaviors normalized in the Trump era?
YouTube screenshot of Barbara Young Nelson’s press conference.

In her statement, Beverly Young Nelson tearfully recounted:

At some point he gave up. He then looked at me and said, “you are a child. I am the District attorney of Etiwah County. If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.” He finally allowed me to open the car door and I either fell out or he pushed me out. I was on the ground as he pulled out of the parking area behind the restaurant. The passenger door was still open as he burned rubber pulling away leaving me lying there on the cold concrete in the dark.

It was an open secret in his hometown that Moore had been effectively banned from the local mall and the YMCA for harassing teenage girls. Managers warned their employees to be on the lookout for a smartly dressed man on a pervy search for 16-year-olds he could legally solicit for sex.

I suppose that’s an improvement over molesting a 14-year-old, but the change was likely for his own legal protection.

Wendy Miller was also 14 when Roy Moore first approached her as she was working as a Santa’s helper in Gadsden Mall. Again, he waited until the girl reached 16 before he began asking her out on dates. For some reason, Wendy’s mom forbade it.

A couple of women in the WaPo piece were approached by Moore in Gadsden Mall, including yet another Santa’s helper who was later asked out after her sixteenth birthday. Four others are among the latest to come forward. In total, nine women have joined the Roy Moore predation club.

How many other women are holding their tongues after the unrelenting attacks on Roy Moore’s accusers?

Roy Moore: Will Child Molestation No Longer Be a Disqualifier?

Beyond Moore’s victims, I worry about the impact this story will have on the countless other childhood rape and molestation survivors. Many of them have suffered severe and ongoing abuse that dwarf anything I went through.

You don’t expect to be triggered by a Senate candidate. And you certainly couldn’t anticipate someone comparing child molestation to stealing a lawn mower.

Much of the Washington GOP establishment — including both the Senate and House leaders — has called on Roy Moore to quit. Nonetheless, there’s still a strong chance that he’ll be elected, anyway. Should that happen, there have been calls to expel him from his seat.

I’d like to think that this is entirely motivated by disgust, but I’m not that naive. If this serial sexual predator is elected to the upper chamber, he would immediately become the Todd Akin of 2018, held over the head of every Republican candidate. The difference being that Akin’s offense was merely verbal (if reprehensible and ignorant).

The reaction by Alabama Republicans, on the other hand, has ranged from, it’s the same as Joseph and Mary (seriously!), it was forty years ago, these are only allegations, and, amazingly, it’s no big deal. The Alabama reporter’s lawn mower comment was among the later.

Many Alabama Republicans excuse Roy Moore's assaults. Will child molestation soon join the list of reprehensible behaviors normalized in the Trump era?
Via Staff Sgt. Schelli Jones, Moody Air Force Base, public domain.

Many have questioned the motives of Roy Moore’s accusers. Is this really the message we want to send to victims afraid to speak out?

It was clear from Beverly Young Nelson’s presser that she’s been haunted all these years by what happened that day. She had thought she was Moore’s only victim until she read the courageous comments of the women in the WaPo article. Telling her story allowed Ms. Nelson to say:

Mr. Moore attacked me when I was a child. I did nothing to deserve his sexual attack. I was frightened by his position and his power. I am coming forward to let Mr. Moore know that he no longer has any power over me and I no longer live in fear of him.

She no doubt relived her attack after the story broke, however. I certainly did when my second molester again escaped from prison. I felt a surreal mix of fear and disbelief as the local news reports referred to me indirectly, without using my name. (He was soon recaptured.)

And, yes, reading about Roy Moore and his 14-year-old victim has triggered those memories all over again. Even writing this post has been difficult.

But my concerns reach far beyond my rekindled traumas. What kind of society will we be if even child molestation is no longer a disqualification for office?

Will child molestating soon join the list of inexcusable behaviors normalized in the Trump era? And what does that say to victims?

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