Evelyn Yang has revealed she experienced multiple instances of sexual assault from a gynaecologist she visited in 2012 while pregnant with her and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s first child.
The 38-year-old mother of two said she was inspired to share the personal story after receiving compassion from voters about her son’s autism, which she has openly discussed along the campaign trail.
“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 it, about sexual assault”, Ms Yang told CNN in an interview that aired on Thursday.
Ms Yang said she didn’t tell her husband or family because she “didn't want to upset them”, adding: “I certainly didn't want Andrew blaming himself for not being able to go with me to these doctor's visits because honestly, if he was with me in the room, if anyone was with me in the room, this obviously wouldn't have happened.”
The gynaecologist, Dr Robert Hadden, was a prominent OG-GYN working in the medical facilities at New York’s Columbia University, where Ms Yang attended school and met her husband. He first started out asking inappropriate lines of questioning about her sex life with her husband, Ms Yang told CNN, and eventually sexually abused her on multiple occasions, including one instance in which he examined her without any gloves when she was seven months pregnant.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Ms Yang revealed the alleged abuse years after the birth of her son, when she learned Dr Hadden was no longer working at the practice within Columbia University. After looking up his name on Google, she learned he faced accusations of sexual assault from another woman who filed a police report against him.
“This was a serial predator, and he just picked me as his prey”, she said.
Ms Yang has joined 31 additional women in a lawsuit against both Columbia University and Dr Hadden that argues the medical facilities and its associates “actively concealed, conspired and enabled” the gynaecologist’s sexual abuse.
Ms Yang, who previously worked as a marketing executive for L’Oreal, suggested she used to blame herself for the assault and was not aware of the standard practices and procedures employed by gynaecologists when pregnant.
“I thought there was something I did to invite this kind of behaviour,” she said. “I feel like I put up with some inappropriate behaviour that I didn't know at the time was straight-up sexual abuse/sexual assault until much later, and I regret having put up with that.”
I love my wife very very much.
— Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang)
Mr Yang has expressed support for his wife sharing her story, saying in a statement shortly after the interview was released: “When victims of abuse come forward, they deserve our belief, support, and protection.”
He added: “I hope that Evelyn’s story gives strength to those who have suffered and sends a clear message that our institutions must do more to protect and respond to women.”