Credit for cover image: BBC, 9/23/2018.
By Dylan R.N. Crabb
The USA Today reported this morning that the legal team for Professor Christine Ford, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s initial accuser, has four sworn statements from four different people corroborating the Palo Alto University professor’s allegation of sex assault at the hands of Judge Kavanaugh back in 1982 – one of the corroborators being Ford’s husband and the other three close friends.
“In documents sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by USA TODAY, Ford’s attorneys present declarations from Ford’s husband, Russell, and three friends who support the California college professor’s accusation that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed, groped her and attempted to pull off her clothes while both were high school students in 1982.
The declarations will be used by Ford’s attorneys during a committee hearing on Thursday that could determine the fate of Kavanaugh’s embattled nomination. He also faces a second accusation of sexual assault from Deborah Ramirez, who claims Kavanaugh exposed himself and pushed his genitals into her face at a drunken party during the 1983-84 academic year at Yale University.”
While four sworn statements may be slightly more credible than one allegation on its own, the flaws in the Professor Ford’s initial allegation still have not been addressed. Chief among them: the fact that the crime allegedly occurred over three decades ago making it incredibly difficult to track down specific corroboration from that area at that time, the lack of details regarding the specific place and time of the alleged crime, the apparent lack of consistency between Ford’s account to her therapist in 2012 and her recent account to U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, and the question of why the alleged victim waited so long to tell anyone about the crime.
There is also an issue with these four corroborators: they all were told of the alleged crime in the past five years (after Ford’s first telling of her account to her therapist in 2012) so it still does not answer the question of why she waited so long to come out.
This case surrounding Judge Kavanaugh has apparently spawned a discussion on Twitter under the hashtag “#WhyIDidntReport,” the discussion comprised of various women claiming to be victims of sex crimes explaining why they did not report the alleged crime to the police. Most of the reasoning for not reporting seem to relate to the alleged victim’s emotional state at the time (which would obviously be distraught, I’m not denying that) as well as a distrust in the American justice system (which is flawed but still among the best on the world).
“Under the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, thousands of women began recounting why it took them many years to talk about their attacks. By Sunday, there had been 675,000 tweets.”
There is one thing that Professor Ford could have done to avoid all of this political drama currently playing out. Assuming that she is telling the truth, she should have reported the crime as soon as possible (back in 1982). Ford says she was in high school at the time. Why didn’t she at least inform her parents of this horrible crime against her?
Regardless of the emotional state of the victim, reporting a sex crime as soon as possible after the fact is the best way to get the law on your side, it will significantly increase that chances that the alleged criminal will be caught by police. This is true for all crime, the longer the victim waits to report it, the more difficult it will be for law enforcement to raise legal charges and obtain a conviction.