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Women Mayors: It's Time to Listen to Christine Blasey Ford

WOMAN SPEAKS

Politicians Lindsey Horvath and Amy Howorth give their support to all of Brett Kavanaugh's accusers.

Let's start with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Instead of playing an easy political chip in the Kavanaugh hearings, Feinstein knowingly chose to respect and protect the confidentiality and safety of her constituent.

According to reports, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford wrote to the senator in late July with details of an assault that she claims happened at the hands of President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, in the 1980s. Feinstein kept the letter she received in confidence for more than a month, at the expressed wishes of Blasey Ford. Only with her consent did Feinstein rightly request a federal investigation of her claims. The senator is credited by Debra Katz, Blasey Ford's attorney, as having "done well by her."

However, Feinstein was unfairly (and incorrectly) attacked by politicians on both sides of the aisle, who did not want to listen to her wise statement on why she withheld details of Blasey Ford's report. Her Democratic opponent in the upcoming November election, Kevin de Leon, even went so far as to describe her actions as "a failure of leadership," when nothing could be further from the truth. He critiqued Feinstein's protection of a victim's confidentiality not for the benefit of the Senate Judiciary Committee but for his own personal political gain.

It seems that De Leon, the author of California's affirmative consent bill, does not believe that such a standard applies to the sharing of reports from victims who come forward. But evidence shows that effectively protecting the confidence and safety of those who report, as well as seeing reports through the justice system, are the best forms of encouragement for other victims to come forward. Feinstein knows this, which is one of many reasons she chose to protect Blasey Ford.

Feinstein is also the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She did not win her seat as a prize; she earned it through years of hard work, accomplishment, and demonstrated expertise. Yet her leadership has been undermined or diminished by her Republican colleagues on the Committee at every turn, often with sexist or ageist undertones. With all of the Republican members being male, her voice of reason is even more critical in their ongoing discussion about the potential lifetime appointment of a man accused of attempted rape to the highest court in the land. It is time to listen to her.

Today, we will hear testimony from Blasey Ford, who has come forward with a report of alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh. Her frightening account will likely call to mind the testimony of another woman - Anita Hill - during the confirmation hearing of then-candidate for the Supreme Court, Clarence Thomas, and the missed opportunity to heed her courageous account of sexual harassment and assault. Despite knowing the difficulties Blasey Ford will face ahead, no matter the outcome, she is willingly and bravely putting herself and her future career at risk in order to tell her truth and protect our country from the appointment of Kavanaugh to the court.

Blasey Ford is not alone, either. Since her revelation, at least three more women have come forward with similar reports, which have the support of colleagues, family, and friends. We should not need third-party validation to trust their credibility, however; they all come forward at great risk to themselves and their future careers. Their accounts provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with a different perspective on Kavanaugh's character and fitness for a lifetime appointment to our nation's highest court as well as an opportunity to demonstrate that we have learned to listen to women.

The urgency of the current #MeToo moment - and the need to stop empowering and promoting known perpetrators of harassment and assault - cannot be overstated.

We stand with Feinstein and join in her call for a delay of the hearing and vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. We believe Blasey Ford, and Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick, and the women who come forward anonymously - and Anita Hill. We agree with feminist writer and advocate Kaili Joy Gray opinion of Blasey Ford's courage:

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It is time to listen to women.

LINDSEY HORVATH is the former mayor and a current councilmember of West Hollywood, Calif., and AMY HOWORTH is the mayor of Manhattan Beach, Calif.

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Lindsey Horvath and Amy Howorth