"If it's truly Senator Collins' intention to side with Brett Kavanaugh over Dr. Blasey Ford, she will never again be able to claim the mantle of an ally to women or survivors, and that is not something that women will ever forget—not next week, not next month, and not in 2020 when she's up for reelection." —Ilsye Hogue, NARAL
Women's rights advocates and critics on social media shared their disgust on Wednesday after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) appeared to side with U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh regarding sexual assault allegations against him, and chastise his accuser for indicating that she would likely not testify at a hearing on the matter.
In an interview with WVOM, a radio station in Maine, Collins said Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's failure to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about her claim that Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were both in high school would be "not fair" to the federal judge.
"It's not fair for Judge Kavanaugh for her not to come forward and testify" either in a private session with the panel or publicly, Collins said. "I just don't understand why the hearing shouldn't go forth."
Collins: It's not fair to the rapist for his accuser to escape being belittled in public by a bunch of old white male Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. #Kavanaugh #StopKavanaugh https://t.co/o2ROcKxCO5
— March for Progress (@march4progress) September 19, 2018
"It is both extremely disturbing and a grave insult to women in Maine and across the country that Senator Collins is buying into the Trump tactic of undermining survivors and trying to bully Dr. Blasey Ford," said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL, in a statement. "Every shred of evidence points to the fact that Dr. Ford, who has everything to lose and nothing to gain from this vicious process, is telling the truth, and that Brett Kavanaugh has lied over and over again."
Senate Democrats, women's rights groups, and Ford herself have called for an FBI investigation into her allegations of sexual assault—but the Republican-led Judiciary Committee has revealed its intention of pushing through a hearing as quickly as possible, forcing Ford to choose between telling her story to the nation without a federal investigation backing up her claims, or not telling it at all.
Ford has said she is open to testifying before the committee—but not until the FBI conducts an investigation of her claim, which she first sent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in July just after Kavanaugh was nominated.
A probe by federal investigators should be "the first step" before Ford is put "on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident," her lawyers said this week.
"If it's truly Senator Collins' intention to side with Brett Kavanaugh over Dr. Blasey Ford, she will never again be able to claim the mantle of an ally to women or survivors, and that is not something that women will ever forget—not next week, not next month, and not in 2020 when she's up for reelection," said Hogue.