Sexual assault groups “up in arms” over Trump’s comments about Dr. Ford

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MADISON (WKOW) — President Trump’s comments appearing to mock the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault have many advocates for victims of sexual assault up in arms.

During a rally in Southaven, Mississippi Tuesday night, President Donald Trump, for the first time, directly mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, casting doubt on her story.

“I had one beer. Well, do you think it was — nope, it was one beer,” Trump said, mimicking Ford’s. “How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember. How many years ago was it? I don’t know.”

Now, groups like the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault (WCASA) fear his remarks will discourage victims from coming forward about assault because they might not be believed.

“It creates a disincentive for survivors to come forward,” said Ian Henderson, Director of Legal and System Services at WCASA. “There are already enough reasons why victims don’t come forward because of fear of not being believed. But on the flip side, we’ve seen a lot of positive movement on social media like #IBelieveSurvivors and #WhyIDidntReport.”

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, two thirds of sexual assault cases are not reported.

The White House said President Trump did not mock Dr. Ford at a rally Tuesday night.

“The President simply pointed out the facts of the matter and that is what the Senate will have to use to determine whether or not they vote to support him or not,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.

The President also expressed concern about the public’s outcry from the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh and the impact on other men.

“It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of,” Trump said. “This is a very, very — this is a very difficult time. What’s happening here has much more to do than even the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.”

Henderson said Trump’s comment mischaracterizes who reports sexual violence and assumes only men are responsible.

“Completely discounts men and boys of sexual violence. They also, unfortunately, lump men into the category of potential perpetrators or at least complicit in rape culture,” said Henderson.

Emilee Fannon

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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