With Renewed Focus on Abuses by Kavanaugh, NJCASA Calls for Accountability 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 16, 2019

Lawrenceville, N.J. – As we approach the first anniversary of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings, new reporting continues to shed light on past abusive conduct by Brett Kavanaugh against other women, including Deborah Ramirez, that was not fully investigated by the FBI.

Last year’s hearings proved incredibly triggering for many survivors and victims of sexual violence– the National Sexual Assault Hotline reported a 201 percent increase in calls during the hearing. NJCASA recognizes that seeing headlines about Kavanaugh’s abusive behavior back in the news can be retraumatizing and painful. We want to reiterate to those who have experienced sexual violence: we believe you, we support you, and you don’t have to go through this alone. New Jerseyans who need support can call New Jersey’s statewide, confidential sexual assault hotline at: 800 – 601 – 7200.

NJCASA also recognizes that this is a high-profile example of what survivors of violence face every day: challenges in accessing the justice system; blame from those around them; and damaging myths about false reporting. We know that false reports of sexual violence are rare. Best research indicates that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 and 10 percent. In fact, it’s much more likely for those who experience sexual violence to not report at all – research indicates that 80 percent of sexual assaults go unreported to law enforcement.

As this case and so many others demonstrate, sexual violence is motivated by power and control and those who hold privilege are often not held accountable for committing abuse. Too often, we see systems of justice tipped when the person who caused harm holds privilege and the person who was victimized does not. These consequences of disparate power dynamics must be addressed in order to ensure that all survivors can fully pursue healing and justice.

NJCASA joins others who have called upon Congress to investigate all claims of sexual abuse against Brett Kavanaugh. Systems of accountability must be responsive to survivors who share their experiences and/or report abusive behaviors. We believe survivors and we believe that more work remains to be done.

ABOUT NJCASA: NJCASA (www.njcasa.org) is the statewide technical assistance, and capacity building organization that represents New Jersey’s twenty-one county-based rape crisis centers, and the Rutgers University Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance. NJCASA elevates the voice of sexual violence survivors and service providers by advocating for survivor-centered legislation, training allied professionals, and supporting statewide prevention strategies that work to address and defy the socio-cultural norms that permit and promote rape culture.