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NH state senator says unnamed doctor assaulted her at Dartmouth fraternity in 1972

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 25. 2018 1:38PM




A New Hampshire state senator disclosed on Facebook that she had been the victim of an assault at a Dartmouth College fraternity four decades ago, and that no one knows what they would do if they were in the circumstances of Christine Blasey Ford, the accuser of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In the post and an interview, Martha Hennessey describes being torn about reporting the assault. Her boyfriend, her family and a college dean, urged her to report the 1976 assault to Hanover police. But best friends refused to stand by her and terminated their friendship. Witnesses — between eight and 12 people saw what happened — told Hennessey they would not collaborate her story, she said.

In the end, she did nothing.

“I let him get away with it, because I was PROTECTING MYSELF. If my assaulter were being considered for the Supreme Court, would I be brave enough to tell my story publicly? I hope I would. Would YOU? It is NOT POSSIBLE for anyone to know what they would have done in my shoes or in the shoes of Christine Blasey Ford,” Hennessey wrote.

“YOU HAVE NO IDEA. BOYS and MEN get away with it every day, everywhere. Victims are ridiculed, shamed, denied, and traumatized over and over again. Forever.”

In a statement, Dartmouth College applauded Hennessey for sharing her experience.

“Dartmouth is committed to maintaining a safe and nondiscriminatory environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, and we strongly condemn and will not tolerate violence of any kind directed against members of our community,” reads the statement.

The post on Hennessey’s personal Facebook page received 3,400 reactions and 517 comments as of Monday, nearly all positive.

The Upper Connecticut River Valley Democrat said she decided to post her message after President Trump used a tweet to question why Ford never reported the alleged attack of Kavanaugh when he was 17.

“I felt there were so many out there and we need to have strength from each other,” she said in an interview.

Hennessey does not name her accuser; she only said he went on to become a doctor. In an interview, she said she considered but opted to not name the fraternity.

Hennessey said she was the member of the college’s first female class, which entered Dartmouth in 1972.

She said she stopped by the party because it was a friend’s birthday. She greeted her friend and started to leave because she had a test to study for. A fraternity brother grabbed her keys and told her not to leave, she resisted and he picked her up, and threw her on the floor near a fireplace. When she got up, he picked her up and threw her down again. “Women got carried into bedrooms. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

She left with bruises and scratches. Word eventually got to campus police and a school dean, but she told them she did not want it reported to local police. For one, her father was the dean at the Tuck School of Business, and she did not want to be treated differently.

And some friends refused to help.

“A good friend said he would not help me in any reporting because fraternity brothers stick with fraternity brothers no matter what they do,” she said. She lost a girlfriend for 25 years until the woman approached her at a reunion and spoke about it, Hennessey said.

Her father made a deal with her. He would respect her wishes and not report the man if he could dress him down. Do such an action again, the father warned, and he would not graduate from Dartmouth, Hennessey recounted.

“He went to his grave sorry this guy got away with it,” Hennessey said. She questioned what good it would be to name the man now, noting he would be 65 years old.

Hennessey is a practicing psychologist who was in the New Hampshire House for one term before being elected to the Senate.

She said she signed a letter urging Sen. Jeff Woodburn to resign after his arrest on allegations of domestic violence.

She did not want to say more about Woodburn.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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