New Jersey’s new first lady publicly disclosed Saturday that she was a victim of sexual violence while attending college.
Tammy Murphy told her story while speaking at a women’s march in Morristown. The wife of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was introduced to the crowd by her husband, who was sworn into office Tuesday.
Tammy Murphy, 52, said the attack occurred while she was a sophomore at the University of Virginia. Murphy said she was walking along a path when a man grabbed her and pulled her into the bushes.
Though she could see people in the distance through a window at a party nearby, Murphy said no one could hear her screams. The man tried to take her clothes off and attempted to put a crab apple in her mouth to silence her, she said. But she bit his hand and fled, half-dressed, to a nearby fraternity house, where students called police.
Citing the “attitudes of the time,” Murphy said her assailant never faced justice. However, she said he was later convicted for another crime.
“Until today, only a few have heard my story,” Murphy told the hushed crowd of several thousand people. “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.”
The rally was among several in New Jersey and dozens that were staged nationwide Saturday. The activists were hoping to create an enduring political movement that will elect more women to government office.
Many marchers in Morristown wore pink cat-ear hats as a show of solidarity, while others carried signs stating opposition to President Donald Trump and his policies. The scene was similar at rallies in Leonia, Monroe and Ocean City.
They come a year after women rallied in cities across the United States, many saying they hoped to send a message to the Republican president about equality and other causes. Afterward, a wave of women decided to run for elected office, and the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct became a cultural phenomenon.