Kellyanne Conway told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, while discussing the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, that she herself is a victim of sexual assault.
“I feel very empathetic, frankly, for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment and rape. I’m a victim of sexual assault,” she told Tapper on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ program. But that doesn’t mean she’s not supporting Kavanaugh. “I don’t expect Judge Kavanaugh or Jake Tapper or Jeff Flake or anybody to be held responsible for that. You have to be responsible for your own conduct,” she added.
Conway—who’d previously appeared to support Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s right to testify about being allegedly assaulted by Kavanaugh in high school, but last week called the allegations “a vast left-wing conspiracy”—added that she didn’t want the Kavanaugh nomination to be a “meeting of the #MeToo movement.” Though she believes victims of assault “should all be heard,” (in courts of law and depositions, she says) we should not “treat people differently who are either the victims or perpetrators of this based on their politics now and based on their gender,” Conway told Tapper.
“This is all partisan politics. I want those women who — who were sexually assaulted the other day who were confronting Jeff Flake, God bless them,” she said. “But go blame the perpetrator.”
I believe women, I believe Kellyanne Conway, and I am very sorry for what happened to her. But in her typical obfuscation, what she appears to be claiming here is that Kavanaugh is being attacked because he is a man, and he is a conservative, while Ford is being supported because she is a woman, and she is a registered Democrat.
Several important Democrats, including former Senator Al Franken and former New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, have resigned over misconduct and abuse allegations; Harvey Weinstein was long a major donor to the Democratic Party. This isn’t to say that Democrats have doggedly pursued justice in all instances of alleged abuse and misconduct. But men on the left abuse women. Men on the right abuse women. Men in the center abuse women. And, of course, there are instances, some quite notable, in which women abuse men.
More importantly, there is Conway’s insistence that men who didn’t abuse her are not responsible for other men’s abuse. The fact that Kavanaugh himself is literally accused of assault notwithstanding, powerful men who do not abuse women are participants in a culture that permits and even celebrates an attack on women’s bodies. The reason so many women are victims of sexual assault is not just because bad men exist; it is because often even good men fail to protect women from the bad ones. You are responsible for your own conduct, certainly, but in a society, we are all responsible for one another, and since the due process Conway appears to champion often fails victims, it falls in part on the so-called good men, Tapper and especially Flake included, to step forward.