The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault (IowaCASA) released the following statement today in response to the hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the woman who has accused him of sexual assault, Professor Christine Blasey Ford.
From Beth Barnhill, Executive Director of IowaCASA:
Professor Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick have bravely come forward to share their stories, only to be attacked, vilified, and discredited at every turn. We believe all survivors who make the decision to share their stories should be heard, treated respectfully, and taken seriously. Unfortunately, we have not seen this happen in the days and weeks leading up to today’s hearing.
Senator Chuck Grassley and others had an opportunity to take action with the Judge Kavanaugh hearings. Instead, they have largely failed survivors. It is disappointing to know that we still live in a culture where survivors such as Professor Blasey Ford, Ms. Ramirez, and Ms. Swetnick have their motives questioned, are accused of lying, and shamefully put on trial to defend themselves. Many of these senators—Senator Grassley included—are the same men who have asked Professor Blasey Ford why she did not come forward sooner. Looking at all that has happened, can you blame her? When accepting the Supreme Court nomination, Judge Kavanaugh signed up for his life to be examined inside and out. As a survivor of sexual assault, as a victim of a crime, Professor Blasey Ford did not.
Senators will try to tell you that they gave Professor Blasey Ford and others a “fair shot” to be heard. We see things differently. Our elected officials—regardless of their intentions—have given survivors every reason to stay silent. Sadly, sexual violence is already the most underreported crime in our country. We must do a better job of creating supportive and safe environments for survivors, where blame lies on those who commit sexual violence. The women who have come forward with reports against Judge Kavanaugh have done nothing wrong. What happened to them was not their faults. They stand strong and bravely share their stories.
We demand that Senator Grassley, along with his colleagues, bring this confirmation process to a halt until a fair, thorough, and independent investigation has been conducted.