On November 9, The Washington Post published Leigh Corfman's account of allegedly being victimized by Roy Moore when she was just 14 years old. Corfman told the outlet that Moore, then 32, took her to his home, undressed her, and touched her in intimate areas of her body despite her discomfort with the situation.
During a campaign rally last night, Moore doubled down on his denial of all allegations, stating that they are "completely false" and asserting that he doesn't know any of the accusers, as reported by AL.com.
Today, Corfman penned a powerful open letter to Moore, published on AL.com.
Corfman begins by reiterating what she told The Washington Post on November 9: She confided in friends and family years before Moore's candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Corfman, who appeared on The Today Show last week to tell her story, calls out Moore for using his spokespeople to discredit her and brand her a liar. "Finally, last night, you did the dirty work yourself. You called me malicious, and you questioned my motivation in going public," she writes.
After emphasizing that she came forward for personal, not political, reasons, Corfman writes that, despite the ramifications of going public, she feels empowered: "I am not getting paid for speaking up. I am not getting rewarded from your political opponents. What I am getting is stronger by refusing to blame myself and speaking the truth out loud."
Although I hope Moore is reading every single word of Corfman's letter closely, this particular message really resonates and it's important on multiple levels. Victims of sexual violence are often shamed into silence for years and, when they do go public, they're frequently met with doubt, blame, threats, and shaming — especially when they accuse a powerful individual of victimizing them.
It's certainly up to each individual whether or not to go public with allegations, and no one should feel obligated to do so. But it's inspiring that Corfman has used her platform to emphasize that sexual abuse victims are never at fault.
"What you did to me when I was 14 years old should be revolting to every person of good morals. But now you are attacking my honesty and integrity. Where does your immorality end?" Corfman continues. "I demand that you stop calling me a liar and attacking my character."
Although an open letter probably won't be enough to stop Moore and his campaign from continuing to call Corfman a liar, it does have the power to speak to and influence survivors of sexual abuse. Although Corfman draws from her own experience, her story will likely resonate with millions of women, men, girls, and boys who have been in similar situations.
Moore may not be listening, but readers across the country are — and Corfman's powerful message deserves to be heard. And to be taken seriously.