Jeff Flake, the Republican senator from Arizona, was confronted by two survivors of sexual assault in an elevator yesterday after voicing his support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of assault by multiple women.
The first protester, identified as Ana Maria Archila, passionately urged Flake to consider his own children, The New York Times reports. "What you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the Supreme Court," she said. "This is not tolerable. You have children in your family. Think about them. I have two children."
Archila continued, "I cannot imagine that for the next 50 years they will have to have someone in the Supreme Court who has been accused of violating a young girl. What are you doing, sir?"
Flake nodded his head but remained completely silent.
\u201cWomen confront Sen. Jeff Flake after he says he'll vote yes to Kavanuagh: \u201cThat\u2019s what you\u2019re telling all women in America, that they don\u2019t matter. They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth you\u2019re just going to help that man to power anyway.\u201d\u201d
The second woman, identified as Maria Gallagher, gave Flake a rundown of what it is like when nobody believes you were assaulted "I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me," she said. "I didn't tell anyone, and you're telling all women that they don't matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them you are going to ignore them. That's what happened to me, and that's what you are telling all women in America, that they don't matter. They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth, you're just going to help that man to power anyway."
Flake looked away, and Gallagher demanded his attention "That's what you're telling all of these women. That's what you're telling me right now. Look at me when I'm talking to you. You are telling me that my assault doesn't matter, that what happened to me doesn't, and that you're going to let people who do these things into power. That's what you're telling me when you vote for him. Don't look away from me."
Reporters then asked Flake if he had a response while the protesters demanded to know if he thinks Kavanaugh is telling the truth.
Archila jumped in with another passionate plea for Flake to answer her question
"Do you think that he's able to hold the pain of this country and repair it? That is the work of justice. The way that justice works is you recognize hurt, you take responsibility for it, and then you begin to repair it. You are allowing someone who is unwilling to take responsibility for his own actions and willing to hold the harm he has done to one woman, actually three women, and not repair it. You are allowing someone who is unwilling to take responsibility for his own actions to sit in the highest court of the country and to have the role of repairing the harm that has been done in this country to many people."
Flake responded with a meek "Thank you" and the women kept pressing for answers, telling Flake that thank you is not an adequate response.
A flurry of "thank yous" came from Flake as he tried to get out of the situation by saying he had to get to the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.
The protesters pushed for more answers as Flake's aide tried to get them to talk to a staffer. They held the elevator doors and demanded an additional response.
Flake brushed everything off with "No. I need to go to the hearing. I just issued a statement. I'll be saying more as well."
The protesters pleaded one last time for him to do the right thing, and Flake responded with one final "Thank you."
However, they may have made a difference, or else Democrats on the Judiciary Committee did. When the committee met, Flake said he would support moving Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate on the condition that there is a week's delay in a vote to allow for an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations.