As her husband Andrew continues his work on the campaign trail in the Democratic primaries, Evelyn Yang has found herself suddenly in the public eye. And it’s support and gratitude from voters, she told CNN, that have empowered her to open up about a secret she had never even told her own parents.
“Something about being on the trail and meeting people and seeing the difference that we’ve been making already has moved me to share my own story about sexual assault,” she said in the CNN interview.
In 2012, Yang said, when she was pregnant with her first child, she went to see an OB-GYN named Robert Hadden. While he seemed fine at first, as the months went on, he began asking her more and more inappropriate, sexually charged questions during appointments. Then, when she was seven months pregnant, she says Hadden sexually assaulted her.
“I was in the exam room, and I was dressed and ready to go. Then, at the last minute, he kind of made up an excuse. He said something about, ‘I think you might need a C-section,’ and he proceeded to grab me over to him and undress me and examine me internally, ungloved,” she said. “I knew it was wrong. I knew I was being assaulted.”
Yang said she froze when the assault happened, and though she never saw Hadden again, she didn’t tell anyone about it — not even her husband at first. But months later, she saw that Hadden had left his practice, and that another woman had accused him of assault. Yang then told a lawyer her story, and they discovered that the Manhattan district attorney’s office was working on a case against Hadden, as several other women came forward with stories about his predatory behavior.
The case’s outcome, however, was less than satisfying. In 2016, the D.A.’s office agreed to a plea deal with Hadden that saw him lose his medical license and register as a sex offender, but avoid any jail time. Yang is now involved in a civil suit with 31 other women against Hadden and Columbia University, who they say enabled and concealed Hadden’s illegal actions.
Yang said to CNN that, though she’s a private person, her conversations with other women on the campaign trail motivated her to speak out, and possibly change the reality that so many women’s stories of assault don’t end with justice.
“Everyone has their own MeToo story. It’s far too prevalent,” Yang said. “But not everyone can tell their story. Not everyone has the audience or platform to tell their story, and I actually feel like I’m in this very privileged position to be able to do that.”