Republicans are saying Democrats are treating the Fairfax case differently than they treated the Kavanaugh case. Are they?
First, Kavanaugh had been selected to join the Supreme Court as a lifetime appointee, while Fairfax would succeed as governor, if the current governor resigns, and he would have to stand for election in order to continue in the office. Second, republicans REFUSED to even investigate Dr. Ford's accusations against Kavanaugh, before they were forced by public opinion and Democratic members and a couple of republican members of the Senate Judicial Committee to at least "investigate" for four days, and they insisted that those who called for an investigation promoted "mob rule". Democrats are not attempting to suppress or bypass investigations of Dr.Tyson's accusations.
Is it prudent to adopt as a standard to believe the woman in every case? What happens when a woman presents what seems to be a credible accusation and the man denies the accusations, and there are no corroborating evidence? Do we default to the woman? That seems to be where we are. Is that really where we want to be?
To be honest, given their backgrounds, my intuition is to believe both Dr. Ford and Dr. Tyson. So the question becomes what do we do in these credible accusation cases, when the statue of limitation has expired and there is no prosecutable crime? If we default to the woman, don't we risk the possibility of a false accusation ruining the man's life? If we default to the man, as republicans seem to prefer IF the man is a republican, we obviously devalue the woman. If we do nothing, we also devalue the woman.
This might seem harsh, but one obvious solution might be to require women to report incidents to the police within a short time of the incident occurring. This would provide a better chance of an effective investigation, understanding the trauma of the incident. This may also seem harsh, but maybe men cannot be trusted to hold positions of power when they have to interact with women in those positions.
Addressing sexual misconduct accusations involves changing a worldwide culture that has been in place since the beginning of time. It won't be easy and it might take a minute.
She has decided we should know her name. It is Vanessa Tyson. And she has decided we should know her story. It is that, according to her, a man who is poised to become the governor of Virginia sexually assaulted her more than 14 years ago.
Now comes a test for the rest of us — one that shows what was learned, if anything, as the country processed hauntingly similar allegations last year against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Democrats and women’s groups rallied in support of Christine Blasey Ford, when she claimed that Kavanaugh had tried to force himself on her during a drunken encounter at a party of high schoolers in the early 1980s.
Will Tyson get the same reception, given that the target of her allegation is Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a rising star in the Democratic Party and the man many hope will replace embattled Gov. Ralph Northam?
All of this comes as the entire Democratic leadership in Virginia is engulfed in overlapping scandals. Northam’s political survival is on the edge after photos surfaced from his 1984 medical school yearbook showing someone in blackface standing alongside another individual wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe. And it became a perfect storm Wednesday, when the state’s attorney general, Mark R. Herring — second in line for the governorship behind Fairfax, should the office become vacant — said he, too, once donned blackface.
Fairfax’s accuser, like Kavanaugh’s, is an academic who lives in California. Tyson is a tenured professor at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., and is on a year-long fellowship at Stanford University, where she is involved in research on sexual violence against women and children. Like Ford, she cannot produce anyone who witnessed what she says she went through.
But, as with Ford, I keep coming back to the question: Why would she make this up?
Tyson surely is well aware of the ordeal that awaits her. Yet she decided Wednesday afternoon to go public with a lengthy and graphic statement about what she claims happened.
In Tyson’s telling, what began as consensual kissing in Fairfax’s hotel room during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston turned into a traumatic and violent struggle, during which Fairfax physically overpowered her.
“As I cried and gagged, Mr. Fairfax forced me to perform oral sex on him,” she wrote. “I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual. To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent.”
Tyson did not speak to anyone for years about the alleged episode, she said, because she had “suppressed those memories and emotions as a necessary means to continue my studies, and to pursue my goal of building a successful career as an academic. At the time, I found this horrific incident especially degrading given my regular volunteer work at a local rape crisis center.”
Fairfax insists the encounter was consensual. And, though he urged that Tyson be treated with respect — “I wish her no harm or humiliation, nor do I seek to denigrate her or diminish her voice” — that was not how he himself behaved toward her as word of her allegations seeped into the media.
Fairfax’s first reaction was to smear her. He claimed, falsely, that The Post had investigated her story and found “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegations.” In truth, The Post had looked into her account after she approached the paper in December 2017, shortly after Fairfax was elected as lieutenant governor; our editors decided not to publish because The Post could not corroborate either version of events.