Senate must postpone hearing



Opinion columnist Jack Ave discusses the recent sexual assault allegation toward Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

JACK AVE, Opinion Columnist

Content Warning: description of sexual assault, rape culture

“But fortunately, we had a good saying that we’ve held firm to this day… which is: What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep. That’s been a good thing for all of us”

-Brett Kavanaugh in a 2015 speech at Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford disagrees with her alleged abuser. On Sept. 16, 2018, Ford publicly accused Brett Kavanaugh (the current Supreme Court nominee) of sexual assault while they were both students during the summer of 1982.

In late July, Ford contacted Representative Anna Eshoo and later Senator Dianne Feinstein accusing Kavanaugh of assault, asking to remain anonymous. A redacted report was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee in order to protect Ford’s privacy. However, once the accusations became widely reported by mainstream media, Ford publically came forward.

According to the account, collaborated with 2012 notes from Ford’s therapist and a recent polygraph administered by the FBI, an intoxicated Kavanaugh pinned Ford to a bed, forcibly groping her and removing her clothes. A classmate of Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, turned up the music to prevent other students from hearing Ford’s screams for help.

After thirty-six years, making the decision to come forward was excruciating. In an interview with The Washington Post, Ford expressed concern for her safety. She feared that coming forward “…would upend her life and probably would not affect Kavanaugh’s confirmation.”

While Kavanaugh’s confirmation is still pending, Ford has already experienced numerous accounts of harassment along with several death threats. For her safety, she was forced to leave her home.

Early this week, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, scheduled a public hearing for Monday, Sept. 24, saying that both Ford and Kavanaugh will testify.

Holding a confirmation hearing for a Supreme Court nominee eight days after an accusation of sexual assault denies the committee (and the public) the ability to effectively vet a candidate for a lifetime term.

Therefore, in order to accurately understand what happened at Georgetown Prep, the Senate Judiciary Committee should postpone Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote to allow ample time for an FBI investigation.

On Wednesday, Sept. 19, in a letter addressed to the committee, Ford’s lawyers wrote that, “a full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that the crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are assessed in a non-partisan manner, and that the Committee is fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions.”

The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee is Iowa’s senior senator, Chuck Grassley. In the age of #MeToo, survivors of sexual violence are increasingly shining light on the darkest corners of our society. In the last few months alone, the darkness of Iowa has made national headlines. Iowans in the wake of crisis are uniting to fight violence against women and take a stand against harassment.

Senator Chuck Grassley must postpone Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee until the FBI investigation has concluded. As his home state reels from the death of two college women at the hands of gendered violence, Grassley should signal to his constituents that survivors must be taken seriously.