SAVANNAH, Ga – With tears in her eyes, Susan Christmas recalled the night she says she was raped.
“I was immediately thrown onto a dining room table and raped and then raped by the other man after that,” Christmas said.
Christmas, then 16 years-old and a first year in the state of Georgia, was attending summer session. She says one night in the Summer of 1974 she went to return a book to a classmate.
” I went to return it one night and walked in the door and was assaulted by two men.”
She says it was a nightmare she never saw coming.
“They laughed at me when it was over and threw me out the door and locked me on the door,” Christmas said.
She says she chose not to report it to her family or the police.
“Back in that time people didn’t talk about being raped,” she lamented.
For decades she chose to stay quiet. She says she did talk about it in gradate school in the 1990’s but never told her three children.
“I guess the worst part of it is that I know that it affected my children, but the symptoms that I was having,” she said. “And they don’t understand the way that I felt.”
A heart wrenching reality going back to that night.
“I remember the guilt of not reporting it. That’s the biggest thing that I regret.”
Earlier this year she chose to report it to campus police as a part of her healing journey.
“I want to talk about it because I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” Christmas said. “If it happens I want the man or the woman because it can happen to men as well I want them to speak out and be able to talk about it and not go through the years of unexplained depression and anxiety and the O.C.D. and the wanting to overachieve. I don’t want somebody to have to do that.”
She says that by coming out publically, she hopes other can do the same.
“It just made me want to reach out to anyone, If I can touch one, two, five,100 women or men to report this that would help me heal,” Christmas said.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted and needs help, you are encouraged to call the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire at (912) 233-3000.