Presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s wife, Evelyn Yang, gave a heartbreaking interview on Thursday in which she discussed being sexually assaulted by her OB-GYN during her first pregnancy.
Speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash, Evelyn Yang said that Dr. Robert Hadden in 2012 began his assault by asking her “inappropriate questions” about her sex life, which then morphed into something more grotesque.
“There was absolutely no premise for that line of questioning, and it seemed like he just wanted to hear about me talking about sex,” she told CNN. “What I kept sticking to was this: ‘OK, so my doctor is pervy. I have a pervy doctor, but I’m going to focus on having a healthy baby,’ and the idea of changing doctors was overwhelming for me.”
As time passed, the visits became both longer and more frequent, and Evelyn began to suspect that they were unnecessary.
“The examinations became longer, more frequent, and I learned that they were unnecessary most of the time,” she recalled. “I suppose I just need to trust him. I put up with some inappropriate behavior that I didn’t know at the time was straight-up sexual abuse slash sexual assault until much later. And I regret having put up with that because it ended up in a sexual assault that was indisputable.”
The “worst assault” by Dr. Hadden occurred when Yang was seven months pregnant during another “routine” exam. Her story is gut-wrenching.
“I was in the exam room and I was dressed and ready to go. And then, at the last minute, he kind of made up an excuse,” she revealed. “He said something about — ‘You might need a C-section,’ and then he proceeded to grab me over to him and undress me and examine me internally ungloved. And at first, I was a little bit like, ‘What’s going on here?'”
“And there was no one else in the room?” Bash asked the now-tearful Yang.
“No, no,” she replied. “In fact, when I think back to most of our exams, I don’t think there was somebody in the room. I imagined myself as someone being, you know, like I would throw a chair at him and run out yelling bloody murder. I just kind of froze like a deer in headlights, just frozen. I knew it was happening. I could feel it. I remember trying to fix my eyes on a spot on the wall and just trying to avoid seeing his face as he was assaulting me, just waiting for it to be over.”
Evelyn Yang kept the horrific experience from her husband and suffered privately with the story until another victim pressed charges against Dr. Hadden. She ultimately did not want her husband to feel guilty for not having been able to attend the exams due to traveling for work.
Later, she discovered there were multiple victims when Dr. Hadden left his practice. In fact, a total of 18 women had slapped him with several felony charges, a plea deal was ultimately reached and Dr. Hadden lost his medical license while being forced to register as a low-level sex offender.
“It was this sense of relief, of finally realizing that I wasn’t alone in it,” she said. “This was a serial predator and he just picked me as his prey. He was getting off with a slap on the wrist, basically. We were betrayed twice… It’s like getting slapped in the face and punched in the gut.”
“My personal life and this growing public life — they’re not separate,” she continued. “In this case, my experience with the sexual assault and then what happened — all that happened afterward is such a powerful and upsetting example of the truth that women are living with every day. And I just happen to have a platform to talk about it. I need to use that voice. I feel like it’s something that’s an obligation but also a privilege and a gift that I get to share my story now and also help other women.”
After the story aired, Andrew Yang tweeted out in support of his wife, saying, “I love my wife very very much.”