Additional Kavanaugh Accuser May Come Forward Soon
With all of the attention and attempted analysis regarding Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination focused on Professor Christine Blasey Ford’s charge that he committed a sexual assault on her while both were teenagers, there seems to be little thought – much less any serious planning or considerations of possible strategies by Republicans, Democrats, or other interested parties – should another woman accuse the nominee of similar misconduct, whether as a teen or even later in life.
But that’s far more than a mere possibility, or the musings of conspiracy theorists, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who cites several reasons why anyone involved in this complex drama now playing out on Capitol Hill should be concerned so that no one is again caught off guard.
First, he notes, as most sex crime detectives and prosecutors will affirm, acts of sexual violence by males against females are rarely individual, isolated, and one-time-only events.
On the contrary, an offender, once so inclined, usually commits a series of such sexual assaults against different victims, especially if the tendency manifested itself early in his life.
Thus, while it's possible that a teen may grow out of such behavior as he matures, and/or other events (such as almost getting caught, establishing a stable relationship with a female, etc.) may cause him to change, it would be rare if Ford were Kavanaugh's only female victim, teen or adult, if the type of attack she has described actually occurred.
So, if such an event did happen, and there were other victims of similar attacks, they may be persuaded to likewise come forward and similarly accuse Kavanaugh, now that Ford has broken the ice, not only emboldening others with her own considerable courage, but also making similar accusations by other women seem much more credible and impossible to ignore.
This, of course, is exactly what has happened in many #MeToo type situations.
These women might also be additionally motivated to come forward now if they fear that Kavanaugh's confirmation would lead to overturning Roe v. Wade and its protection for abortion rights, or otherwise just would rather not want to see him with his conservative leanings on the High Court.
Second, in addition to legitimate complainants who have in fact suffered a sexual attack by Kavanaugh possibly coming forward shortly, there should be real concern that some women may make public complaints of sexual assault by him which are completely false.
This could easily occur because they are strong supporters of abortion rights which they see in grave danger if Kavanaugh's nomination adds a fifth vote to overturn Roe, and/or because they seek public attention and the perks - TV appearances, book contracts, etc. - if their claims help defeat Kavanaugh's confirmation.
Making such false accusations could be very easy, especially if the women claim they can't remember most specific details of the event to which there are no other witnesses, and if they are not required to testify under oath and the threat of perjury.
Indeed, if Ford herself never testifies under oath, it would be hard to justify swearing in any other women who now likewise come forward to accuse him, argues Banzhaf.
He notes that there are probably dozens if not hundreds of women who went to one of the all-girl schools near Georgetown Prep at the time, and would be in a position to make a credible allegation.
This would be especially true if their accusation involved a fictitious event as to which - unlike Ford's allegation - the accuser conveniently claimed there were no other witnesses.
But similar very damaging allegations could also be made by any one of the hundreds of women who have had social and/or professional interactions with Kavanaugh subsequent to his graduation from prep school.
It is also not even essential that a subsequent allegation be very credible, since many people may assume that, while Ford might be making a false or at least a mistaken allegation, the mere presence of a second similar claim by another women adds credence to Ford's, and that therefore both women should be believed - at least in the absence of strong evidence, beyond Kavanaugh's mere denial, that the allegations are false.
Thus, while it may never come to pass, at least before a Senate vote on Kavanaugh's nomination, that additional women will come forward to make more either truthful or fictitious claims of sexual assault, the #MeToo movement has certainly made everyone - especially women, and probably also many senators - more sensitive to such claims, and of their ability to derail the careers and aspirations of many men in very high places, suggests Banzhaf.
Prof. Banzhaf, who has studied claims of sexual assault among college age students, also suggests that even putting Kavanaugh, Ford, Mark Judge and others under oath, and/or administering a polygraph exam, may not uncover what really happened or didn't happen that night, for at least two reasons.
First, an insurance company study showed that, in 60% of alleged date rape cases, the complainant was so drunk that she could not even remember what happened. In one, she claimed that she had been assaulted by a male, but DNA evidence showed that the offender was a female.
Here, according to Ford's statement, Kavanaugh as well as Judge were "stumbling drunk," so they may truthfully have no memory of the event even if it in fact did occur as Ford described.
Second, Ford herself may also have consumed enough alcohol to affect her perception and memory, now more than thirty years later, of an event which occurred when a child's brain is not yet fully developed.
It is also clear that she suffered a great mental trauma from whatever did occur.
So both - inebriation and/or trauma - could affect Ford's perception of the event at the time, and her memory of it now decades later, possibly causing her brain to exaggerate or embellish what actually happened.
As a result, she could now really believe that Kavanaugh did try to rape her and almost killed her as she recounts, whereas the actual event, if it in fact occurred at all, could have been far less serious.
If any of this occurred and affected perception and/or memory, being sworn in or taking a polygraph exam may do nothing to clear up the apparent discrepancies and lead to the truth, says Banzhaf.