Don Palmerine, 67, recently came forward and admitted his involvement in a 1969 rape. ⠀⠀
In an essay written to The Washington Post, Palmerine admitted that though the details were fuzzy, he does recall the events “before and after” the traumatic event. ⠀
Palmerine spoke to Michel Martin Sunday on NPR’s All Things Considered, where he further explained his guilt surrounding that night. At the time, Palmerine attended an all boys catholic school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Palmerine was invited to a party put on by a football player from a nearby school. Palmerine recalled that “there were far more boys than girls at this party” and that “other than the girls,” no one was drinking.
“At one point, a boy told several of us to go outside and look through a window into the basement because another boy, a football player, had taken a girl there. When we peered through, we saw the girl passed out on a sofa, her feet facing us. As the boy approached her, he waved to us, smiling. He proceeded to remove her jeans and then her underwear. It was the first time I had seen a girl naked. He climbed on top of her and penetrated her. She immediately woke up and tried to fight him off. At this point, we all scattered in the yard. No one said anything. There was just nervous laughter,” Palmerine remembers.
This type of behavior seemed to be normalized, as further unsafe situations occurred at the party.
Palmerine also admitted to engaging in a “game” where the boys would grope a drunk, unconscious woman when the lights were off, and remove them before the light
exposed them. “This happened four times, and then we all left the room. I’m glad it didn’t go further,” Palmerine said.
Palmerine’s confession was triggered by the disturbing testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Palmerine said Ford “was really telling the truth,” which led him to come forward about the night he witnessed sexual assault.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“In 1969, there was nobody to turn to,” he writes in a proper acknowledgment. “They [the girls] certainly wouldn’t have gone to the police — at the time, a subtle notion persisted that an assault was always the girl’s fault, that she shouldn’t have gotten herself into that position in the first place,” Palmerine writes.
“To tell the truth about the ways they’ve abused women and what our role has been in creating a culture that tolerates this,” he added.⠀⠀⠀⠀
Palmerine insists that men should be apart of the #MeToo movement to protect our mothers, daughters, and friends who are at risk for sexual assault or rape.
“The only thing I could say is I’m sorry I didn’t help” regrets Palmerine. “A few women had called me a hero, but, no, I wasn’t. I would’ve been a hero if I had helped these women then, but I didn’t do it.”