Lindsey Graham Confronted By Rape Survivor – His Response Was Sickening

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As a survivor of an alleged sexual assault at the age of just 15 years old, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford now faces interrogation in front of the Senate and the world for daring to make a claim against a powerful man. Senators on the Judiciary Committee have been markedly tentative in their wording while speaking to Dr. Ford, but not so much outside the courtroom.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was confronted by a rape survivor in front of reporters outside the room where Dr. Ford has been questioned and talked at all morning. While there are no details about the full context of the exchange, what reporters saw was a woman who told Graham, “I was raped.”

As he stepped into an elevator, he told her “I’m sorry. Tell the cops.”

Graham’s reaction to Ford’s allegations have been especially surprising during this period of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings for his nomination to the Supreme Court. He has cast doubt on her allegations over unrelated issues, since as a question about who paid for her polygraph test (it was revealed during Dr. Ford’s testimony on Thursday that her lawyers paid for the test and that this is routine), and despite a very powerful and moving opening statement in which she detailed the sexual assault through tears, Graham says he isn’t swayed.

The senator’s response to a woman trying to explain to him that the things he has said hurts not only Dr. Ford, but every survivor in American who has been disbelieved and denied justice destroys any expectation that he is capable of making a fair decision on the hearing for Kavanaugh’s confirmation after hearing from his accuser. It’s clear that he’s either unable or unwilling to understand why women don’t come forward.

Why would anyone tell a sexual assault survivor to take a long and painful route through which they have almost no chance of actually receiving justice? Only six thousandths of one percent of all rape reports to police end in jail time. Only five percent of rape reports lead to an arrest, and only seven thousandths of one percent of all rapes reported end in a conviction. “Tell the police” doesn’t work. If Graham doesn’t know this, he shouldn’t be sitting in any position of authority in a decision about a sexual assault claim. If he does know, his casual cruelty is downright disturbing and even more evidence that he has no place on this committee.

Going to the police works for some survivors, but not the vast majority. This woman is highly unlikely to see justice served by going to police, so she was telling one of the people who make the laws her story.

He dismissed her.

Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license