Fabiola Santiago

Conservatives are vilifying Christine Blasey Ford. Here’s why you should believe her.

The president says the serious and well-founded accusation of sexual assault against his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is “very unfair,” signaling that he’s done with his earlier pretense that he was in favor of the alleged victim getting a fair hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The attitude isn’t surprising coming from a man who stands accused of the same thing by multiple women.

What’s outrageously unfair is the vilification of Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — who is, by all accounts except those of false memes and conservatives on Fox News, a serious research psychologist and statistician with an upstanding reputation at work and among her friends and peers.

He is the one accused of a crime — but she’s paying for it.

A loon,” Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia, labeled Blasey on Fox News, after spewing a few lies to go with the slander, among them that Blasey “does not know when it happened, where it happened.”

Dr. Blasey, as she’s known in academia, does know — but diGenova keeps pounding the ancient excuse for men’s behavior that there must be something wrong with the accuser’s mental health.

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Christine Blasey Ford

“She may very well believe everything she’s saying, and that is one of the signs of lunacy, believing something that isn’t real,” diGenova said to host Tucker Carlson, who did nothing to question the outrageous claims and plenty to encourage the pounding on Blasey.

Right on cue — on the heels of memes and rumors circulating on the internet claiming falsely that Blasey had terrible reviews from her students; that she had also accused the previous nominee; that her parents had lost their house to a ruling by Kavanaugh’s mother — my social media lit up with talk about Blasey by Republican men.

Their assessments ranged from the clueless to the disgusting, “Woman, out for revenge after all these years!”

The moment Blasey, 51 and the mother of two sons, spoke up and her identity became known, she began to receive death threats and harassment so vile that she’s had to leave her California home. Her email was hacked, too.

This is why many women don’t report sexual assault.

I can’t say this loudly enough: I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation that she was sexually assaulted at 15 by a drunken 17-year-old named Brett Kavanaugh at a party. If you’re a woman, it’s not a story you haven’t heard before; on the contrary, it’s far too common.

And I believe that Blasey has spent a lifetime trying to both privately forget, and finally in 2012, dealing with the trauma in couples therapy.

The timing of a woman coming forward — at the time of the crime or 34 years later — matters not. She will be vilified either way. Just visit a courtroom where a rape trial is under way.

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Alumni of Holton-Arms School, Karen Bralove, class of 1963, left, Sarah Burgess, class of 2005, and Alexis Goldstein, class of 1999, speak to members of the media about a letter they delivered to the office of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who is also an alumni of the school, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The letter, which the group wants Capito to sign, calls for an independent investigation of accusations by Christine Blasey Ford, a 1984 alumni of the school, against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Jacquelyn Martin AP

After reading an interview with Blasey in the Washington Post — and reports compiled with interviews of former classmates and close colleague and friends in the New York Times and elsewhere, there’s no doubt in my mind that she’s telling the truth.

Maybe Kavanaugh, who has vehemently denied the accusation, was so drunk that night he doesn’t remember. Hard to believe when Kavanaugh, a varsity football and basketball player, is described as “Keg City Club (Treasurer) — 100Kegs or Bust” in his Georgetown Prep yearbook

Or, maybe Kavanaugh is simply lying. He’s got the highest honor bestowed on a lawyer to lose, the post of Supreme Court justice.

I’ve seldom, if ever, heard of a man accused of sexual assault or harassment who has said, “I did it. I’m sorry. I regret it. My apologies to the victim.” Well, maybe at sentencing when his life is in a judge’s hands.

Given all she has endured, I understand Blasey’s reticence about testifying on Monday and being questioned by the 11 Republican men in the Senate Judiciary Committee without an investigation of the case by nonpartisan authorities. She has passed a lie detector test. How about one for Kavanaugh?

And, what’s the rush?

The case merits meticulous attention. It speaks directly to the moral compass of a judge whose complete and extensive record Republicans have tried hard to silence because they want the staunch conservative on the Supreme Court to carry on their agenda at all costs.

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One of the most horrific aspects of Blasey’s accusation is that, had the other drunk young man who was in the room when the assault occurred not jumped on the bed and the three of them had rolled to the floor — giving her an opportunity to escape — she might have been raped by both young men.

The other man in question has been identified as Mark Judge, a conservative who now has developed amnesia about the drunkenness he wrote about in his 1997 memoir, “Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk.” In the book he mentions a “Bart O’Kavanaugh” who “puked in someone’s car” and “passed out on his way back from a party.”

The men might forget, go on with their lives and deny it all when the past comes back to haunt them, but women don’t. A number of women from Blasey’s social circle in the suburban Maryland private prep schools have publicly said that they had similar traumatic experiences during their high school years.

The weight of all that doesn’t favor Kavanaugh, but he’s getting the benefit of the doubt. And Dr. Blasey is the one whose integrity, and even sanity, is being questioned.

That echo we hear in all this knavery is the voice of Anita Hill defending her claims of harassment against Clarence Thomas 27 years ago — and getting the same chauvinist treatment.

And you wonder why women don’t report sexual abuse.

Believe us. It’s about time.

Follow Santiago on Twitter, @fabiolasantiago