GOP Claim of No Corroboration Would Doom Most Allegations of Sexual Assault

Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee want to paint themselves as somehow sympathetic to Christine Ford while dismissing her testimony that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. One of the ways they are attempting to do that is by suggesting that there is no corroboration of her allegations.

One of the more subtle lies Kavanaugh told repeatedly during his testimony was that the people Ford identified as present at the party where she was assaulted have denied that it happened. What they’ve actually said is that they don’t remember.

This points to the fact that what these Republicans are suggesting is that the only corroboration that they assume counts would be an eye witness to the events. When we talk about how our justice system is dysfunctional in cases of sexual assault, this is one of the main reasons why. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that most sexual assaults do not take place in front of witnesses. If the only way to corroborate what happened is for someone to testify that they witnessed the assault, almost no victim would ever receive justice.

The truth is that Christine Ford did present corroboration of her assault. The most powerful was the fact that she told her therapist, her husband and several of her friends about what happened before Kavanaugh was ever nominated to the Supreme Court. She presented evidence of those conversations in the form of sworn testimony from those in whom she confided. Ford also voluntarily subjected herself to a lie detector test, which verified that she was telling the truth. Finally, Kavanaugh’s own diary suggests that he attended a party with the people Ford named on July 1, 1982.

When Republicans suggest that there is no corroboration of Ford’s claims, they not only dismiss all of that, they ignore the testimony of Kavanaugh’s friends at Yale who confirm that he regularly drank to the point of blackouts, as well as the allegations from other women that have surfaced since Dr. Ford came forward.

Even if you believe Brett Kavanaugh’s denials that this incident ever took place (which is hard to fathom at this point), this idea the Republicans are propagating that the only way to corroborate a sexual assault is via testimony from people who witnessed the attack is dangerous for any woman who has ever been or might be the victim of such an assault.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.