(CNN) — Evelyn Yang, the wife of presidential candidate Andrew Yang, said Saturday that the theme of this year’s Women’s March — “Rise and Roar” — is “very personal” for her after revealing publicly this week that she’s a survivor of sexual assault.
Yang told CNN in an interview that aired Thursday that she was sexually assaulted by her OB-GYN when she was pregnant with her and Andrew’s first child.
Speaking at the Women’s March in New York City, Yang told the crowd her story and admitted it was “terrifying” for her to share on a national stage.
“I had to believe that coming forward would help me reclaim my voice and help others reclaim theirs,” Yang said. “Otherwise we would all just be another statistic in the shadows.”
Yang said it’s a “great, great privilege to have a public voice, and I didn’t want to waste it.”
“We need to roar against sexual violence, and roar against the culture of cover up that so often follows,” she told the crowd.
Several women, including Yang, have come forward with similar stories of being assaulted by Dr. Robert Hadden, an OB-GYN at Columbia University. In legal filings, Hadden’s attorney has denied Yang’s allegations. The attorney declined CNN’s request for an interview.
Hadden was indicted in 2014 by a grand jury on multiple felony sex charges. In 2016, Hadden reached an agreement with Manhattan prosecutors that allowed him to avoid prison time by pleading guilty to one felony of criminal sexual act in the third degree and one misdemeanor of forcible touching, surrendering his medical license and registering as a level one sex offender.
Yang and 31 other women are suing Columbia University, its affiliates and Hadden, arguing that they “actively concealed, conspired, and enabled” Hadden’s sexual exploitation.
Since Yang went public, at least 15 women have come forward with similar allegations against the doctor, according to an attorney representing Yang and other alleged victims.