(CNN)At the Women's March in New Jersey, the state's first lady Tammy Murphy shared something she'd kept private for decades
At the Women's March, New Jersey's First Lady shares her story of a sexual assault
"I was sexually assaulted," Murphy told the crowd in Morristown on Saturday.
The attack took place when she was a sophomore at the University of Virginia, Murphy said.
She was walking on campus one night to meet a group of friends, when a stranger pulled her into the bushes.
"I was thrown on my back," she said. "I had a man on top of me. [He] pulled my shirt up, pulled my skirt up, and I started screaming."
Murphy said there was a party going on "not more than six feet away," but no one could hear her screams.
The man tried to silence her by putting a crab apple he found on the ground in her mouth. When he reached to put it in her mouth, she bit him.
She then got up and ran into a nearby fraternity house. The boys in the fraternity house called the police for her.
Her attacker was not convicted of any crime for the incident, she said.
"Unfortunately, because of the attitudes at the time and despite my efforts to see this man convicted for what he did to me, my assailant never faced justice in my case," Murphy said.
Years later, he was sent to jail for committing another crime, she said.
Murphy told the crowd of protesters that she decided to share her story not for herself, but for other women who haven't spoken up yet.
"Surely among us is a woman who has been silent about her own story," she said. "I know the feeling of shame. I know the feeling of helplessness, and I know the disappointment of justice denied. But by speaking out, we can find our strength and ensure our lives are not defined by this experience, but that we define it."
Murphy's husband, Phil Murphy, was sworn in as New Jersey's newest governor on January 16.
Women's marches took place across the country on Saturday and Sunday.