Judge Brett Kavanaugh, US President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, is facing a new round of sexual misconduct allegations.
The New Yorker reported Sunday that Deborah Ramirez alleges "Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away" while both were freshmen students at Yale University.
"It was kind of a joke," she said of Kavanaugh's alleged reaction. "And now it’s clear to me it wasn’t a joke."
Both Ford and Kavanaugh are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday about the allegations. It's still unclear whether Kavanaugh will be asked about Ramirez's claims as well.
Michael Avenatti, lawyer for Stormy Daniels, claims he's representing a third accuser. Investigators also told the Montgomery County Sentinel that an anonymous witness came forward this weekend with allegations that there's yet another sexual assault complaint against Kavanaugh, which reportedly took place when he was a high school senior. No additional information is known at this time.
Ramirez told the New Yorker she was hesitant to come forward with her experience because she had been drinking when the incident allegedly took place. Like Ford, she would like the FBI to re-open Kavanaugh's background check as a nominee and investigate the claims. The White House and most of the Republican leadership have refused to ask the agency to do so.
A strategy employed by supporters of Kavanaugh has been to question why the women didn't go public with their allegations sooner. But waiting to come forward, or declining to do so at all, is actually common among survivors of sexual assault. Survivors are usually traumatized by the attack, and they fear they won't be believed or that the assailant will retaliate.
This is particularly true for young women. According to a 2017 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, teen girls are less likely than adult women to seek medical care and to press charges after being assaulted. Researchers that when a victim knows their assailant, they are even less likely to report to authorities.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).