‘The Real Housewives of Potomac’ star Karen Huger is speaking publicly for the first time about being date-raped at 19-years-old.
via Page Six:
“I was raped almost 35 years ago,” Huger revealed to Page Six, and she is now fighting against what she calls an “alarming” suicide rate among sexual assault victims.
“The fact that I survived is part of my reality and I’m hoping that message resonates with the viewers,” she said.
In what she describes as “a typical date that went totally off the rails,” the mom of two, now 54, isn’t hiding what happened to her, she’s vocalizing it on national television — with a purpose.
“I am put in a very wonderful position to show that when adversity comes your way it doesn’t stop you, it can propel you,” she said of her platform as a Bravo fixture. “It is my responsibility to be real. I have no shame and I carry no burden because of what happened.”
However, the name of her attacker is something she chooses not to disclose.
“I will never reveal his name, he has passed on,” she explained. “[But] I can say he was a public figure.”
“If he were alive today it might be a different story,” she said. “I’d like to have it out with him. But I forgave him a long time ago, that is why I lead I life I do today, forgiveness is a part of it.”
Huger’s story will be told on Sunday night’s “RHOP” episode where Bravo cameras rolled as she received the ambassador award from Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment (PAVE), a non-profit organization that works to prevent sexual violence through education. She has worked with the group for three years, and said she “knew she needed to be a part of it” after attending a fundraiser that focused on teaching consent to middle school and high school students.
“For me personally as a survivor, I felt I had the responsibility to do whatever I could do to prevent another child from choosing death to end their suffering,” she explained. “If hearing my story could save one life it is well worth it, and I will do it again and again.”
Other PAVE honorees in years passed have included Lady Gaga and Dr. Jill Biden. Huger was honored along with CNN’s Don Lemon in 2016.
“I’m humbled for my name to be spoken in the same sentence,” she said “We’re champions of shattering the silence of sexual abuse,” she said, referring to the fact that many sexual assaults — like her own — go unreported.
And the typical drama that comes with the “Housewives” cast was set aside while Huger spoke of the life-changing incident.
“We were having our differences as we normally do but at this moment we stood to honor, to respect and unify and I am eternally grateful,” she said of her “very supportive” cast members: Gizelle Bryant, Ashley Darby, Robyn Dixon, Charisse Jackson-Jordan and this season’s newcomer Monique Samuels. “They opened their wallets and that’s a beautiful thing,” she said.
Huger’s priority as she continues to work with the non profit is to promote the notion that victims of sexual assault still have control over their lives and hopes to lead by example.
“I have had a full life now [and] I did it victoriously, that’s the message I want: there are choices we can make – I chose empowerment. It wasn’t easy but I choose to be among the empowered.”
Thank you, Karen, for sharing your story.