At Book Signing, Sexual Assault Victims Reach Out To Sen. Brown

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Sen. Scott Brown hands his new book, "Against All Odds," back to a customer after signing the copy at Barnes & Noble in Boston on Tuesday. (AP)
Sen. Scott Brown hands his new book, "Against All Odds," back to a customer after signing the copy at Barnes & Noble in Boston on Tuesday. (AP)

Sen. Scott Brown is defending his decision not to ask for an investigation of the sexual assault he said he suffered while a child at Camp Good News, on Cape Cod. He said he's being contacted by hundreds of victims of sexual assaults, including at a book signing at the Prudential Center Tuesday.

All the people in line had to buy Brown's book, so it's no surprise that they were all fans. But they were there for different reasons.

Sam Galvin had a personal reason. He wasn't first in line, but he was close. He became a fan of Brown during Brown's U.S. Senate campaign. He held signs on the streets for him . And when Brown's book came out, Galvin discovered another bond with the senator.

"I was actually sexually harassed over the summer, the most recent summer, so I can definitely relate to his hard times there. I overcame it. He overcame it, and he's looking forward, and that really helped me through that," Galvin said. "I already had a connection to him before, and then that just made it a greater bond and a greater connection to him."

Brown said he's been approached by many people like Galvin in recent days.

"I've gotten hundreds and hundreds of e-mails, phone calls, letters, texts about people who have had very similar circumstances, thanking me for coming out and helping them also face those types of things," Brown said in an interview.

"Obviously, it's troubling to hear that it's so prevalent. It's disturbing also that people feel so shameful in coming out, and if I've given people the kind of confidence by putting an arm around them even though we're not together, and say: 'Hey, you can talk about it. It's OK,' then I'm good. I feel really balanced about that."

Brown writes in his book that he purposefully erased his attacker's name from his mind, but he's since said that he does remember the name. Still, he has resisted calls to expose the alleged assailant.

"People, I think, who are saying that either haven't been under similar circumstances or really don't have a clue about how it affects you and who you are, but I've moved forward," Brown said. "It's 42 years ago. If it was two years ago? Yeah, I'd be all over it, but it was 42 years ago, and I have a job to do. I have a loving and caring family that I want to spend a lot of time with and to even be sidetracked from doing my job and spending time with my family, it's not going to happen."

The 200 people waited up to an hour-and-a-half in line got their pictures taken, their books signed, and a little chat with Brown.

For Brown, the book signing was a chance to confirm that his independent positions in the Senate are paying off with Massachusetts voters. Many of the people in line had voted for him.

Then there were people like Tom Anderson. He had five copies of Brown's book in his bag, even though he did not vote for Brown.

"But he's kind of won me over so I think that I may consider voting for him next time, because he's down-to-earth," Anderson said. "He's a Massachusetts Republican, which is a lot different than the southerners, so he doesn't scare me as much, and he's a free and independent thinker.

"I kinda like that he got caught stealing Black Sabbath records. To me, that was so cool. Basically, he grew up being up a punk, and I kinda like that. I like somebody that's normal that's in office."

Normal, maybe. With star power, definitely. And with his book, Brown was lining up voters, some, like Anderson, former Democrats being won over.

This program aired on February 23, 2011.

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Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



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