“Despite every attempt to shame me, I am not ashamed. It is Justin Fairfax who should be ashamed.”
Meredith Watson, the second woman who accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of rape, lashed at out the politician and those who have not called for a public hearing into the accusations in The Washington Post.
Watson has accused Fairfax of raping her in 2000 when both of them attended Duke University. She wrote that she came out in an effort to support Professor Vanessa Tyson, the first woman who accused Fairfax of sexual assault:
Despite the professed belief of numerous elected officials in Virginia and elsewhere that Vanessa Tyson, who says that Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004, and I have brought forward credible allegations, the Virginia General Assembly has not taken the simple and responsible step of arranging the thorough public hearing that we have sought.
This is how the culture of sexual assault, harassment and the disempowerment of women persists.
Since I came forward less than two weeks ago, certain politicians offered to support me if I made it a partisan issue. I refused. Likewise, I have refused to make this a financial issue by suing for compensation. I have refused to make it a law-enforcement issue. Despite nearly 100 offers to be interviewed, I have refused to make my rape a media opportunity.
My motivation was never for personal gain.
Watson explained that the only thing she gained was “relentless scrutiny of my personal life and unending, bitter flood of hurtful misinformation trumpeted by the media.” She took steps to protect her and her family, especially since people sought out what she was like in elementary records and tried to obtain medical and financial records.
She has a point. On February 12, The Daily Beast wrote that a man filed a restraining order against her in 2008. After the calls for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to testify now everyone on the left wants due process for Fairfax.
The Associated Press had to inform everyone that Watson is an “intensely private single mother.”
Watson stressed that this is why so few women come forward, mainly women of color:
Fairfax denied that he raped me, and he denied Tyson’s account as well. And for many in the public, the media and the Virginia General Assembly, that was that. In one week, they moved on.
I told my story, and in a single week my life was probed, exposed, examined and picked over. This is what women who come forward know to expect, and to fear. Few rape victims do come forward. The rapists shake free what soon becomes just a slight taint, and they move on.
Women of color who report rape know to expect a dismissive response characterized by even greater disbelief and more abuse, if not complete and utter indifference.
While an investigation may appear to be the way to go, Watson reminded everyone that these investigations “are secret proceedings, out of the public eye, leaving victims vulnerable to selective leaks and smears. And we all know how such investigations end: with ‘inconclusive results.'”
Despite the probes and questions from the media, Watson still wants to testify in public:
Tyson has made the same offer. Our plea to the Virginia General Assembly to require the same of Fairfax has been met with inaction.
Despite every attempt to shame me, I am not ashamed. It is Justin Fairfax who should be ashamed. It is the Virginia legislature that should be ashamed. And it is the media that should be ashamed.
If we as a society continue to allow women who report rape to be abused, disparaged and tormented a second time, then shame on us all.
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