Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
WASHINGTON–This was written by NOW President Toni Van Pelt and published on NOW’s official blog, Say it Sister, on September 16, 2018.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is firm in our demand that Brett Kavanaugh withdraws his name from consideration for a seat on the Supreme Court. We rested our case early last week before allegations of sexual misconduct came to the public’s attention. The nominee has perjured himself, hidden and refused to discuss his views and actions that deserve to be considered by the committee. He has also given sham excuses about memory loss, “I changed my mind,” “What law firm,” then mumbled his way around as to why he can’t respond to questions about certain legal issues, or to his receipt of purloined confidential documents, or the impact of his view of whether or not the Constitution protects women’s equal rights.
It is clear to all that he will not be there for the right to access to health care regarding pre-existing conditions, access to family planning and birth control, and access to safe and legal abortions. Kavanaugh’s record indicates he is ardently opposed to expanding the concept of personal freedom articulated by the very justice he’s been nominated to replace.
With respect to the recent charges of abuse, it appears that Kavanaugh’s handlers — in anticipation of the allegation — collected endorsements from 65 high school girlfriends including several who knew nothing about the alleged sexual misconduct. More importantly, NOW trusts Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and believes that sexual coercion occurred.
We call on every U.S. senator, every pundit, every voter to heed and respect the basic fundamental right to confidentiality that all survivors of domestic and sexual misconduct, harassment, assault, and rape deserve. Feinstein stood up for that principle, respected the request for confidentiality and released the letter to the FBI only after leaks to the press caused a furor. Anyone who condemns her should put themselves in the shoes of the accuser. Yes, she signed that letter sent in July and talked to an attorney who told her the consequences of going public. So, she changed her mind and asked for confidentiality when she was alerted to the reality that: she would be accused of partisan political manipulation, lying, alcoholism, and much more; she will be tortured for details, witnesses, proof and asked why she didn’t reveal these accusations earlier; she was reminded of the lines predators have used “You won’t tell anyone because no one will believe you. They’ll take my word over yours. I will make you sorry you ever opened your mouth. This was a good learning experience for you. I did this because I care about/love you.”
She probably remembered why she hadn’t told earlier. Anita Hill “told” the whole world on national TV and Clarence Thomas was still seated on the Supreme Court. Monica Lewinsky told her friend and Bill Clinton got re-elected. The college wrestlers told, the students at Penn State told, the young women Olympic gymnasts told, the altar boys and seminary students told, female clerks for judges told, actresses and secretaries and hotel maids and construction workers and inmates and many more told and yet few of the predators were held accountable and cover-ups were legion.
NOW respectfully demands that Brett Kavanaugh withdraw and if he doesn’t, that the Committee and the full Senate rejects the nomination of this flawed nominee. Our nation simply must deal with bullying, dating, domestic violence, sexual harassment, misconduct, assault, and rape. And until we make sure our homes, schools, workplace, and communities are a safe haven, we will continue to have deaths and lifetime trauma on our hands. Enough is enough.
Brittany T. Oliver, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-628-8669