Thursday 19 April 2018

New Jersey first lady reveals college sex assault to Women's March crowd

New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy (Photo: Twitter/Tammy Murphy)
New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy (Photo: Twitter/Tammy Murphy)

Fionnuala Walsh

The Governor of New Jersey's wife has spoken out about being the victim of a sexual assault during her college years.

Tammy Murphy, wife of New Jersey’s new democratic governor Phil Murphy, told the crowd at the second annual Women’s March on Saturday her account of being attacked in her sophomore year, the New York Daily News reports.

She strayed from two groups of friends one evening when a man grabbed her and pulled her into the bushes.

"I had a choice of taking a longer path that was well lit or a shorter, brick walkway that was slightly in the shadows," said the New Jersey first lady.

"I chose the short distance."

"I was thrown on my back. I had a man on top of me. He pulled my shirt up, pulled my skirt up. I started screaming," the 52-year-old told the crowd.

She said her attacker tried to stop her screaming by gagging her with a dirty crab apple he found nearby.

"When he tried to put that in my mouth, I bit him as hard as I could," Murphy said.

As she was fighting her assailant, Murphy said she noticed a party in an apartment nearby, but no-one inside could hear her "screaming bloody murder".

When she got away from the attacker, she ran to the college party and "to their credit, the boys in the fraternity house called the police".

Murphy blamed "attitudes of the time" that the man never faced justice, however, several years later he was jailed for an unrelated crime.

"Until today, only a few have heard my story," Murphy told the crowd at the rally.

"Now, you all know. I tell this today not for me, but really for all of you. Surely, among us is a woman who has been silent about her own story." 

Murphy used the rare telling of her story to encourage more women to come forward with their experiences, which have become more prevalent since the beginning of the #MeToo movement began last October.

Her husband of 20 years Phil Murphy was sworn into office on Tuesday after winning the race for Governor of New Jersey.

The march was one of dozens of marches organised across the United States on Saturday.

The activists marked the first anniversary of the Women’s March in which 440,000 women gathered in Washington to protest the inauguration of President Trump.

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