President Donald Trump wondered on Twitter Friday morning why Christine Blasey Ford didn’t go to local law enforcement after Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly forced himself on her back in high school.
In a series of tweets, the president attacked Kavanaugh’s accuser by claiming she should have done what a lot of sexual assault victims don’t do: Call the police and, for some reason, the FBI.
Trump asked a similar question last night at a rally in Vegas: “Why didn’t somebody call the FBI 36 years ago?” The answer is on the federal government’s own websites. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for example, points victims to their local authorities via 911 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673. The FBI isn’t the right agency to call.
The whole premise of Trump’s morning tirade against someone who says she was sexually assaulted fails under the misguided belief that all sexual assault victims call the police. In fact, nearly two-thirds of people who are raped or sexually assaulted don’t go to police at all.
And the president’s attack on Blasey Friday is an example of why many victims don’t share their stories. Blasey’s closest friends have said she was hesitant to come forward with her story because she feared a swath of attacks, and she’s getting exactly that. Pundits like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson have piled on, blaming all sexual assault victims who don’t go to law enforcement.
Blasey, a Palo Alto University psychology professor, told The Washington Post that she was scared Kavanaugh “might inadvertently kill” her when he forced himself on her and groped her while they were high school students in the 1980s.
This story has been updated with more details.