Things That Matter

Here’s How People Are Coming Together To Support Brett Kavanaugh’s Accusers After They Came Forward

The United States has experienced a very emotional time during Supreme Court hearings for Brett Kavanaugh. Victims of sexual assault watched as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford went before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to tell her story. Dr. Ford spoke calmly and consistently about how Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her one summer in high school. All this just days after Deborah Ramirez’s account of Kavanaugh exposing himself to her in their first year at Yale University.

While the Republican majority Senate plans to vote Kavanaugh in as the next lifetime-long Supreme Court Justice, many Latino Senators have showed their support for Dr. Ford, alongside some celebrities. Here’s the highlight reel of what you missed at the hearing and the major players involved.

Disclaimer: the details of her assault can be triggering. Please proceed with caution.

“I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”

CREDIT: @onespinal / Instagram

While three women have laid serious sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh, Dr. Ford is the only woman who has consented to go before the Senate in a nationally televised court setting to share her harrowing, intimate story.

Ford details the incident during which Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, shove her into a bedroom, pinned her to the bed and tried to rip off her clothes. She tried screaming for help, but he put the weight of his hand over her mouth.

“It was hard for me to breathe and I believed that Brett was going to accidentally kill me,” she said.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham repeatedly dismissed Ford’s claims and then had an aoutburst of emotion defending Kavanaugh.

CREDIT: @NRO / Twitter

He didn’t even question Kavanaugh. He just railed on his defense and said, “To my Republican colleagues, if you vote no, you’re legitimizing the most despicable thing I have seen in my time in politics,” and that Ford was “just as much of a victim as you [Kavanaugh] are.”

Dr. Ford openly shared that she has no political motives and is putting herself at risk to share her story.

CREDIT: @THR / Twitter

Her and her family have been receiving death threats that have “rocked [her] to [her] core.”

“I have been accused of acting out of partisan political motives,” she said. “Those who say that do not know me. I am a fiercely independent person, and I am no one’s pawn. My motivation in coming forward was to provide the facts about how Mr. Kavanaugh’s actions have damaged my life, so that you can take that into serious consideration as you make your decision about how to proceed.”

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh crossed the line of indignation and appeared angry.

CREDIT: @tictoc / Twitter

“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” Kavanaugh said in his tearful and resentful opening statement. “The Constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.”

When asked about his high school and college reputation of being a drunk and a partier, his actual soundbite was, “I liked beer. I still like beer. Do you like beer, Senator?”

Dr. Ford passed a polygraph test while Kavanaugh said they’re “not much use.”

CREDIT: @thehill / Twitter

At the end of the hearing, Senator Kamala Harris asked Kavanaugh if he would submit to a polygraph test. He said he would, but that it would be inadmissible. Just two years ago, Judge Kavanaugh wrote an opinion article that detailed how polygraph examinations are “an important law enforcement tool.”

Democratic Senators failed to ask about Deborah Ramirez’ claims against Kavanaugh.

CREDIT: @LifeNewsHQ / Twitter

Ramirez currently lives in Boulder Colorado, but was raised in a Catholic Puerto Rican household in Connecticut. Ramirez tells the The New Yorker that she was invited to a party as a Yale freshman where you sit in a circle and people pick who has to drink. She was targeted and quickly became so drunk, she was on the floor, “foggy and slurring her words.”

“I remember a penis being in front of my face.”

CREDIT: @prosemund4 / Twitter

Other students were laughing and telling her to “kiss it.” She was raised as a devout Catholic and was planning to only have sex within marriage. Then she remembers Brett pulling his pants up and laughing. Then, she heard someone yelling, “Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face.”

She remembers feeling mortified.

Both Ramirez and Ford are asking that the FBI reopen their investigation into Brett Kavanaugh.

CREDIT: @CNNPolitics / Twitter

The vetting process took place before any allegations were brought up. While these women will never forget what happened to them, up until very recently, we have lived in a culture of shame around being sexually assaulted. Rape culture blames the victim, doubts the victim, questions the victim’s memory and credibility.

READ MORE: Sen. Jeff Flake Called For An FBI Investigation Into Kavanaugh After Two Latinas Confronted Him With Their Stories.

More than 2,200 Yale women have signed a letter of support for Ms. Ramirez.

CREDIT: @dailycamera / Twitter

Someone paid for this banner to fly over Boulder, Colorado, where Ramirez lives, and where she hasn’t left her home since the story broke. Ramirez first started leaving pieces of paper on her trash that said, “no comment” and “no trespassing.”

Today, it reads, “Please demand an FBI investigation for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Debbie Ramirez’s claims.”

Several Republicans have made it known that sexual assault claims are non-partisan.

CREDIT: @ananavarro / Twitter

Including Ana Navarro, the famous Nicaraguan-born American Republican strategist and political commentator, who says, “Every American -every Senator- listening to Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford testimony today, should remember, this is not about ideology. It’s not about wanting or not wanting a Conservative on Court. That’s a different issue. This is about right & wrong. It’s about fitness of character.”

Our hearts grow bigger for these celebrities who are speaking out in support of Ford:

CREDIT: @hereisgina / Twitter

Gina Rodriguez put it simply, “I believe you.”

As Senators from both sides asked how Ford was so sure it was Kavanaugh, she replied in the way only a survivor and Ph.D in psychology could: “It’s just basic memory functions, and also just the level of norepinephrine and the epinephrine in the brain that sort of -as you know- encodes; that neurotransmitter encodes that trauma into the hippocampus. And so the trauma-related experience is kind of locked there while other details kind of drift.”

Eva Longoria joined other celebrities in a video PSA.

CREDIT: @evalongoria / Instagram

In the PSA, her along with Julie Michaels, America Ferrera, and many others all read aloud, “Dear Professor Ford, we know how difficult it is to stand up to powerful people. We want to thank you for publicly sharing your story of sexual violence. As members of the Senate determine whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should serve as a Supreme Court Justice, this context is critical.

The behavior you described was wrong and runs directly counter to upholding the law and promoting justice. He should not be confirmed… We believe you.”

“One Day at a Time” star, Justina Machado points out the stark contrast between how we treat 17-year-old white boys and brown toddlers in America.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

She retweeted Erika Andiola’s poignant truth, “In Trump’s America, a 17-year-old privileged, white teenage boy can’t be held accountable for sexually abusing teenage girls, but toddlers brought to America are detained, held in cages and expected to defend themselves in immigration court. Think about it.”

Sara Ramirez live tweeted the whole hearing process.

CREDIT: @sararamirez / Instagram

You know she was watching from her home and retweeting action plans and opinions about Kavanaugh’s emotional outbursts like, “He’s crying because his whiteness, his maleness, his PRIVILEGE, his ‘promised’ perfect future is being questioned, and society never prepared him for failure or for facing the consequences of his actions.”

Meanwhile, two of the four Latino Senators in office made their allegiances clear.

CREDIT: @SenatorMenendez / Twitter

Caption: “Searing. Powerful. Brave. The details of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony are heart-wrenching to hear. I hope every single Senator not only watches, but listens. Thank you Dr. Ford for your courage. #IBelieveChristineBlaseyFord”

Cuban-American Menendez called out the GOP for funneling their questions through an outside party prosecutor.

CREDIT: @SenatorMenendez / Twitter

Senator Menendez of New Jersey was sensitive to what this hearings meant for his constituents. He retweeted RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) with this message:

“1.8 million survivors of sexual violence live in NJ, and watching or hearing about this testimony can be triggering. Survivors need to know, you are not alone. I encourage anyone seeking help to start here.”

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is the other half of the Democratic Latinos in the Senate that supports Dr. Ford’s wish.

CREDIT: @SenCortezMasto / Twitter

Over and over again, senators asked Kavanaugh to ask the President and the FBI to investigate the claims to clear his name and allow the proceedings to go on. Several witnesses of the assaults of Dr. Ford, Ms. Ramirez and Ms. Swetnick have not been interviewed.

Swetnick’s attorney posted a statement that Swetnick witnessed Kavanaugh lining up outside a bedroom door where “numerous boys” were “waiting for their ‘turn’ with a girl inside the room.” Swetnick was raped at one of the parties and believed she was drugged.

Republican Marco Rubio previously supported Kavanaugh but now claims to have his hesitations.

CREDIT: @marcorubiofla / Instagram

Politico asked Marco Rubio if he maintains his yet vote and he wavered, “I want to see what happens in the hearing on Thursday. I can only vote based on the information before me.”

Rubio is notorious for saying what his constituents and Americans want to hear but votes with his party consistently.

Activists rallied outside Rubio’s office against Kavanaugh.

CREDIT: @womensmarch / Twitter

While protests have organized all around the country, it’s important for locals to show up to their Senator’s office, especially if they’re undecided. I mean, it is Rubio’s job to represent his constituents.

There is going to be a weeklong pause as the FBI opens a “limited” investigation into Dr. Ford’s allegations.

CREDIT: @americaferrera / Instagram

The results of the probe could change the outcome of the vote for Kavanaugh. Only time will tell.


READ: Lawsuit Alleges That Cristiano Ronaldo Raped A Woman In 2009 In Las Vegas

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Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno “Jokes” Women Report Rape Only When Assailants Are Ugly

Things That Matter

Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno “Jokes” Women Report Rape Only When Assailants Are Ugly

The Guardian / Instagram

It’s a tale as old as time and one with a well-overdue expiration date.

Once again, victims– namely women– of sexual assault are being shamed into silence because of jokes that have not been well thought out. This time, Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno is the mouth behind the quip that deserves no laughs.

In a recent speech delivered in the city of Guayaquil, Moreno claimed women-only complain about assaults when the perpetrator is unattractive.

Speaking to investors in the port city, Moreno appeared to defend men accused of harassment saying “at times, with harassment, they torment ugly people. That is to say, that the harassment is when it comes from an ugly person,” he went onto add that “if the person looks good according to the standards, they tend not to think necessarily that it is harassment.”

Fortunately, the responses to Moreno’s disdainful comments were quick, unforgiving, and loud.

Women’s rights activist groups and other organizations quickly lambasted the already controversial president for his snide and noxious comments.

In a tweet posted to her Instagram account, Ecuador’s governing party congresswoman Soledad Buendía condemned Moreno, writing on Twitter that the president’s comments “justifies and reproduces violence against women. You can’t joke about harassment, rape, femicide, trafficking, sexual exploitation … Nothing justifies expressions that revictimize us!”

According to the Guardian, the Women for Change organization were quick to join in the conversation.

“It is not that everything now looks to women like harassment, it is that to machos like you it has never seemed bad to harass!” the organization tweeted.

Soon after the backlash hit, Moreno attempted to apologize.

In a tweet posted to his account, Moreno wrote an apology saying “In my comment about harassment, I did not intend to minimize such a serious matter as violence or abuse. I apologize if it was understood that way. I reject violence against women in all its forms!”

According to a comparative analysis published in the 2008 book Violence Against Women, 32.4% of Ecuadorian women interviewed aged 15-49 stated they had been physically or sexually abused by a current or former partner. Clearly, this is no laughing matter.

A Jury Has Finally Been Selected For The Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial And Gigi Hadid Is Out

Entertainment

A Jury Has Finally Been Selected For The Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial And Gigi Hadid Is Out

@Current_Knewz / Twitter

After more than 100 women accused him of varying degrees of sexual assault, Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial is now underway. The jury selection process began almost two weeks ago in New York State Supreme Court, where a diverse pool of prospective jurors gathered, ready for the opportunity to participate in one of the most intense legal battles of the #MeToo movement. However, the process of selecting an impartial jury proved difficult—while 120 prospective jurors showed up that first day, many people admitted an inability to remain unbiased, which ultimately disqualified them from participating in the trial. This pattern continued the following day, when 47 of the additional 120 prospective jurors were dismissed for the same reason.

This past week, one of the people dismissed was supermodel Gigi Hadid. Hadid claimed that she could be fair and impartial if selected as a juror, but her involvement in the Hollywood social scene gave Judge James Burke pause.

Credit: Jim Haffrey / Associated Press

According to a pool reporter inside the Manhattan courtroom, Burke read a list of potential witnesses, asking the potential jurors to speak up if they knew anyone on the list. Hadid raised her hand and said, “I have met Salma Hayek.” She also affirmed that she had met Weinstein before.

“I think I’m still able to keep an open mind on the facts,” she said. But Burke was not convinced, and dismissed her from the selection pool.

Although Weinstein has been accused of harassing scores of women, the trial addresses just five charges from two accusers. The charges include predatory sexual assault, rape, and a criminal sexual act in the first degree. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Yet Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and he maintains that all of the sexual encounters in question were consensual.

The trial is estimated to last until March, with two weeks of jury selection and eight weeks of arguments and testimony—all before actual deliberations are due to start.

Credit: Associated Press / Mark Lennihan

According to Weinstein’s attorney, Donna Rotunno, one of the major challenges with securing a jury was finding people who are able to commit to such an extensive trial. Weinstein’s defense team has also expressed concern with a perceived inability to locate impartial jurors in New York City—as a metropolitan area heavily tuned in to the media, Weinstein’s team feared that most prospective jurors have been following the case and forming opinions about Weinstein’s misconduct since it was first brought to light in 2017. According to CNN, Weinstein’s team made multiple attempts to move the trial to different cities in New York, where the likelihood of locating unbiased jurors might be higher.

On January 16, seven jurors—four men and three women—were seated. But that day, prosecutors accused Weinstein’s team of deliberately eliminating young white women from the pool of prospective jurors, as Weinstein’s lawyers had used half of their peremptory challenges to excuse prospective white women jurors who were not dismissed for bias or previously deemed unfit by prosecutors.

Why is this important, you may ask? Well, first of all, it’s illegal to use peremptory challenges to eliminate potential jurors on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or religion.

Second of all, while lead prosecutor Joan Illuzi did not clarify why a lack of white women jurors would be problematic for the prosecution, legal experts said that the defense seemed to assume that jurors of this demographic were especially likely to sympathize with Weinstein’s accusers. So, the idea is that the defense tried to limit jurors of this kind in a strategic attempt to prevent even subconscious opposition to Weinstein during the trial.

Yet defense lawyers dismissed this accusation, citing specific reasons for rejecting each individual white woman and claiming that the remaining white female jurors’ responses to a questionnaire ultimately deemed them unfit to sit on the jury.

Rotunno said that the responses to the questionnaire that aimed to determine whether prospective jurors had experienced sexual assault (or knew someone who had) ultimately determined who would be a viable, unbiased candidate for jury selection, and that the defense’s resistance to seating certain individuals “had nothing to do with race or sex.” But due to the high number of women—regardless of race—who have experienced sexual violence, this stipulation largely diminished the number of women deemed fit for consideration at all. On the first day of jury selection alone, roughly 30% of the 120 prospective jurors stepped down for bias linked to personal experiences of sexual assault.

Ultimately, the final 12-person jury is comprised of six white men, one black man, two white women, and three black women. The alternate jurors, who will only serve if one of the first 12 jurors must withdraw, include a white man, a Latina woman and a black woman.