Skip To Content

I Was Skeptical That Women Are Sexually Assaulted — Then 3,000 Sent Me Their Stories

It’s been a tense week in the White House and all across America during the SCOTUS confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh. The big concern Americans on the left have is that the latest Trump pick could possibly reverse the landmark Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision on abortion rights or take other steps to undermine women’s rights. These concerns have increased and expanded with the recent accusation, by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her while they were both in high school.

For those who don’t know who I am, I had always been a conservative Republican, and an especially stubborn one, until Sarah Silverman inspired me to reconsider my dearly-held opinions. My views have been gradually changing since I was educated on the lies conservative pundits and media say about what liberals and Democrats believe.

Many pundits on the right want us to believe that sexual abuse and assault is not a widespread problem, and they want men to be afraid that we will be falsely accused. Inspired by Silverman, I’ve been trying to listen more than I talk in recent months, so I asked my followers how often sexual assault and harassment really happens.

I was shocked to see the responses. That single tweet currently has more than 3,200 replies. So many women told me their stories, including how they were not believed or were shamed into silence. One woman made an incredible point: “when men report molestation by a priest decades later, it’s accepted as truth and public demands for justice. When women report assault ‘late,’ we are met with skepticism, criticism, and even death threats to our families.”

I’ve also begun to understand that the way women are treated, especially online, when they come out about their assaults, is barbaric. What conservatives don’t understand when they ridicule women for speaking their story is that it will cause a chain reaction for more women not to speak out and have their voices heard. 90 to 98% of sexual assault allegations are true, and yet there are many, many women who never speak up for fear of being shamed, disbelieved or retaliated against.

Women want to be able to trust that a Supreme Court Justice sees them as equal. The allegations against Kavanaugh have damaged that trust. I hope the Senators who will be voting on the next Supreme Court Justice read this and think about the women. Think what they could go through if their rights were taken away.

Do we want to appoint another SCOTUS judge with sexual assault accusations hanging over him? Do we want to send women the message that what they say about their own lives doesn’t matter to us? We need to make an example to put a stop to this kind of behavior because sexual assault is wrong. Women must be believed.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.