A businesswoman running for Congress in Iowa’s 3rd District described to a group of business leaders this week how she defended herself against attempted rape in the 1980s.
Cindy Axne (D) spoke to the group in Des Moines, describing the alleged attack which occurred shortly after she graduated from the University of Iowa, the Des Moines Register reported Tuesday.
Axne said she was attacked while walking home alone in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.
A suspicious man started following her, prompting her to walk faster, Axne recalled. The man, who was wearing a ski mask and carrying a knife, shoved her into an alley and attempted to rape her, she said.
“He said, ‘Don’t say anything or I am really going to hurt you,'” Axne said. “And I just remember saying, ‘Yeah, right,’ and I started screaming and punching him and kicking him.”
Axne said she had been walking with her keys between her fingers, using them to fight off her attempted rapist.
“Fortunately, if you are familiar with the alleys in Chicago and Lincoln Park in the summertime, there is no air and so the windows are open and people started turning on lights and running out and he ran off,” she continued.
Axne recalled that a good Samaritan offered to drive next to her while she walked the few blocks back to her apartment.
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Madeleine Russak, deputy manager of Axne’s campaign, told the Register that Axne did not call the police or file a report with law enforcement. No one was ever arrested for the assault, Axne said.
When pressed for more detail in an interview with the newspaper, Axne said she did not report her attack because she was 24 years old. “I got home and I called my boyfriend and talked with him and then fell asleep,” she said.
”Then the next day I got up and went to work. It was something that I didn’t do, just like two-thirds of the women who are assaulted in this country.”
The vast majority of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, according to data from the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
Only one out of three assaults — 310 out of every 1,000 — are reported to police, according to Justice Department data.
Axne’s decision to share the story of her alleged assault comes amid controversy surrounding sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Axne is running against incumbent Rep. David YoungDavid Edmund YoungFormer Rep. David Young wins GOP primary in bid for old House seat Trump lends support to swing district Republicans Former ‘Apprentice’ contestant ranks Trump next to Mother Teresa on women’s issues MORE (R) for the House seat, which political handicappers have called a toss-up. A recent New York Times/Sienna College poll found Axne a single point ahead of Young.
She vowed to make her community safer, if elected.
“I want to make sure that we provide safety to every single person in our community and in our country, and certainly our women,” Axne said. “My goodness, we have a lot of work to do there. So when I get to Congress, I can guarantee that I will be working on these to make sure that we protect our women, protect everybody.
“But certainly, we need to move towards a society where women don’t have to walk out the door thinking, ‘Do I have my cell phone on me if I am going to the park and it is dark and I want to just take a walk?'” she continued. “‘Do I have to put my keys between my fingers just to be safe? Have I told people where I am going? Gee, is what I am wearing too suggestive?’ This is not the way that women in this country should have to live.”
More than 300 protesters — predominantly women — were arrested by police on Capitol Hill on Thursday as they protested Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
He has been accused by three women of varying degrees of sexual misconduct — allegations he has vehemently denied.
Kavanaugh cleared a key hurdle on Friday as senators voted 51-49 to end debate on his nomination, setting up a Saturday vote on his confirmation.