A day after Kavanaugh accuser comes forward, few women stand by him


Now that Kavanaugh's accuser has come forward, most of the 65 women who vouched for Kavanaugh last week are silent.

Now that the woman accusing Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault has come forward, most of the women who rushed to defend him last week have suddenly fallen silent.

On Thursday, Senate Democrats disclosed that they had given the FBI a letter from an anonymous woman who said Kavanaugh violently attempted to rape her when they were in high school. Just 18 hours later, Senate Judiciary Republicans had released a letter from 65 women vouching for Kavanaugh.

Those women said that they had each known Kavanaugh while he was attending an all-boys high school, and that they thought he “behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”

On Sunday, however, that anonymous woman went public. Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old professor and research psychologist, gave an on-record interview to the Washington Post about her ordeal.

The letter defending Kavanaugh was supposedly a spontaneous effort, beginning after 5 p.m. on Thursday. Somehow, in less than 18 hours, the signatures of 65 former students from five separate high schools were gathered and delivered in time for Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to release the following morning.

But more than 20 hours after Ford came forward, only two of those 65 women had been willing to publicly stand by their support of Kavanaugh, Politico reported Monday.

Out of the more than two dozen women Politico initially contacted, just two of them reiterated that they stand by Kavanaugh. Two declined to comment, and the others did not respond.

By late Monday afternoon, the total had grown to seven women who reiterated their support, and five who declined to comment. The other 53 women either didn't respond or couldn't be reached by Politico.

One of the most prominent signatories to that letter was Virginia Hume, who also penned a lengthy explanation defending the letter against those who found its timing suspicious. Hume, whose father is right-wing Fox News commentator Brit Hume, was silent until she reiterated her support for Kavanaugh on Twitter late Monday morning.

Meanwhile, alumnae of Ford's high school are signing a letter of their own saying that they support and believe her. Her experience, the letter reads, "is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves."

Crucially, none of the women vouching for Kavanaugh were in the room when the alleged assault occurred. But thanks to Ford's courageous decision to step forward, they can all now hear what she experienced.

In her account to The Washington Post, Ford described how Kavanaugh held her down, groped her, and tore at her clothes. She said that during the violent assault, “I thought he might inadvertently kill me.”

Ford said that when she tried to yell over the loud music that was playing at the time, Kavanaugh forced his hand over her mouth to silence her. She said she managed to escape when Kavanaugh's drunken accomplice jumped on both of them.

That Post article also revealed that Ford's account is backed up by notes from two different therapists she spoke to in 2012 and 2013. Ford has also taken a polygraph, which concluded that she was being truthful.

When a man is credibly accused of sexual assault, it doesn't matter how many women say they weren't assaulted by him or thought he was a nice guy. But so far, even most of the women who made that meaningless defense of Kavanaugh aren't willing to publicly stand by it.

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to reflect the additional women who have come forward to reiterate their support for Kavanaugh. 

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.