June: My name is June Osborne. Fred Waterford and Serena Joy Waterford imprisoned me, beat me, and raped me. I came to the Waterfords’ house in 2017. It was my second posting. A few days after my arrival, I was summoned to the drawing room, where I was asked to kneel in front of the Waterfords, as witnessed by their housekeeper Rita Blue and their driver Nick Blaine. Mr. Waterford read a story from the Bible about Rachel and Bilhah. After that, I was taken upstairs to her bedroom. There, Mr. Waterford raped me while his wife held me down. This happened for three successive nights every month when I was ovulating. These were the legally sanctioned rapes. There were others. Mrs. Waterford was desperate for me to get pregnant and questioned her husband’s fertility. She ordered me to have sex with their driver, another violation of Gilead law that I could not refuse. Mr. Blaine and I had intercourse while Mrs. Waterford was in the room, watching us the entire time. I did become pregnant with my daughter Nichole. My daughter. During a visit to a doctor’s office, the underground resistance movement in Gilead provided the means for me to escape, and I stayed in hiding for two months. Eventually, I found my way to an ally’s small plane leaving for Canada, but just before takeoff, I was captured, and I was brought back to the Waterfords’, where the mistreatment and abuse continued. At nine months pregnant, I went into false labor. For this, Mrs. Waterford was very angry with me and felt embarrassed in front of her friends who had gathered to witness the birth. As punishment, Mr. Waterford raped me again while she held me down. I struggled and pleaded for them to stop. They did not. After I gave birth, the Waterfords forbid any contact with my daughter Nichole, although I was still expected to provide breast milk for her. Eventually, I managed to convince them to let me to spend some time with her. Mrs. Waterford did make one attempt to improve conditions for the women and young girls of Gilead. She appeared in front of the Commanders’ Council and read out loud from the Bible. For this crime of reading, they cut off her finger. Mr. Waterford, her husband, did not object. When I confronted Mr. Waterford about his brutality, he struck me and threatened to cut out my tongue. I hit him back, even though it could mean execution for me. I suppose I was past caring by then. Later, with the help of Rita Blue and other housekeepers in the neighborhood, I had a second opportunity to escape Gilead, this time with my daughter Nichole. But I couldn’t leave my other daughter Hannah behind. So I stayed to try to save her. To bring her back to her father, my husband. I failed. This time, when I was captured, I was sent to a new household, where Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lawrence did not subject me to any rapes, at great risk to their own lives. But Mr. Waterford later arranged for me to be raped by Mr. Lawrence as a test of loyalty. The Waterfords drank coffee while upstairs I had sex with Mr. Lawrence against both of our wishes in front of his wife. Mrs. Lawrence, Eleanor, was a kind and fragile woman, and this experience devastated her. That was the last time I saw Mr. Waterford until now. I am grateful to be speaking to you today. But mine is just one voice. Countless others will remain unheard, imprisoned by men like Fred Waterford. Women, my friends, who lost their lives and can never be heard. It is for those women that I ask the International Criminal Court to confirm the charges against this man and put him on trial. I ask for the maximum possible sentence. I ask for justice. Thank you.
That is off course June’s full testimony quote in the Testimony episode. So after all that, on with the music:
At Last by Etta James:
Glory Box by Portishead:
Hell Is Round the Corner by Tricky: