New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy takes the stage to speak on the Morristown Green as thousands marched through Morristown for the Women's March on New Jersey, one of hundreds of events conducted around the nation to mark the one-year anniversary of the 2017 WomenÕs March on Washington, the largest single-day protest in American history.. January 20, 2018. Morristown, NJ.
Bob Karp/Staff Photographer

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy shared her #MeToo story with thousands of people who attended the Women’s March on New Jersey on Saturday, revealing that she had been sexually assaulted in college.

“The stories of the ‘Me Too’ movement have humbled the powerful and empowered the forgotten,” Murphy said in her speech at the event, following her husband, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who was sworn in Tuesday. 

“I will add my voice to this growing chorus,” she added, going into detail about her experience as a sophomore at the University of Virginia.

“Three decades ago, as a college sophomore, I was sexually assaulted,” Murphy said.

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“Moving between two groups of friends I had a choice of taking a longer path that was well-lit or a shorter brick walkway that was slightly in the shadows.”

She said she chose the shorter way.

“As I walked along the brick path I suddenly stopped because the light was coming in and then it stopped. So, I turned my head to look and was pulled into the bushes,” Murphy said.

“I was thrown on my back. I had a man on top of me – pulled my shirt up, pulled my skirt up. And I started screaming.”

The attacker found an apple, she said, which he “tried to put that in my mouth. I bit him as hard as I could.”

Thousands converged on Morristown for the Women's March on New Jersey, one of hundreds of events conducted around the nation to mark the one-year anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, the largest single-day protest in American history.. January 20, 2018. Morristown, NJ.
Bob Karp/Staff Photographer

She fled into a nearby fraternity house, where authorities were called, she said.

“My assailant never faced justice in my case,” Murphy said. “It wasn’t until a future point in time and a future crime that he finally went to jail.”

Murphy said that the “silver lining” over the last year has been the “thousands upon thousands of women who have found their voices.”

“Until today only a few have heard my story. Now you all know,” Murphy said. “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.

“I know the feeling of shame. I know the feeling of helplessness. I know the disappointment of justice denied. By speaking out we can find our strength and ensure our lives are not defined by our experience.”