In just the few days since Christine Blasey Ford’s name was revealed, her allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh have gotten more credible. No evidence has surfaced to conclusively “prove” Kavanaugh attacked her at a party when they were in high school, but there are facts that lend credence to the only person with a specific, detailed recollection — which is Ford.
First, fabulists don’t plead for the FBI to investigate their claims. The Republicans’ misrepresentations (e.g., “the FBI doesn’t do this”) are equally telling.
Second, we know a lot more about the culture at Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda than we did a week ago. The atmosphere and experiences of contemporaries fit Ford’s recollections. The Post reports:
They described parties with kegs of beer and bottles of liquor, grain punch, heavy drinking and drug use that took place almost every weekend and even on weeknights in private homes, parks, open fields and golf courses in Maryland and Washington. Until 1986, the drinking age in Washington was 18, and alcohol was easily accessible. Drugs, especially cocaine and quaaludes, were plentiful.
Women who attended those parties remember sexually aggressive behavior by some of the male students that often bordered on assault and was routinely fueled by excessive drinking.
“Most of the guys at these schools were really decent, nice guys, but there was a small minority that was popular and was out of control,” said a woman who attended Georgetown Visitation in the early 1980s and asked not to be identified. “I never got dragged into a bedroom, but that . . . happened to girls all the time.”
Kavanaugh either participated in this drinking culture (as appears from yearbook comments, as well as comments from his friend Mark Judge), in which case he’s a rotten witness (whose reported inebriation renders him less credible), or he didn’t, in which case there has been an elaborate plot to portray him as an excessive drinker. There has been no effort, so far, to disassociate him from the party culture that existed when he attended the school.
Third, a friend says that Ford once told him she needed an extra bedroom door — a second exit — to avoid being trapped.
Fourth, we’ve heard from numerous sex-crimes experts and prosecutors that it is not unusual at all for victims of sexual assault to wait decades before coming forward. (Is anyone, for example, blaming those molested by Catholic priests for waiting decades before they could speak about the crimes?) We know rape victims retain some details but not all. And we know the incidence of false accusations is low while the percent of such crimes that are not reported is very high. (According to the National Institute of Justice, “Only 36 percent of rapes, 34 percent of attempted rapes, and 26 percent of sexual assaults were reported.”)
Turn the equation around. Who has the motive to lie? Whose credibility has already been damaged by small but significant misstatements? (The Post reports on Kavanaugh’s unbelievable testimony about Charles Pickering, and about improperly obtained documents he received from a Republican aide.)
We’ve yet to see either of them under oath, testifying to their recollections (or lack thereof) on this episode. But, at this stage, it is increasingly preposterous to claim Ford wasn’t attacked. And, if you are reasonably convinced the incident occurred, you’re left speculating that this is a case of mistaken identity. How likely is a traumatized 15-year-old to forget the face of her attacker?