Sen. Lindsey Graham Goes After Kavanaugh's Latest Accuser with a Classic 'Blame the Victim' Defense
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on the attack Wednesday against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's latest accuser, Julie Swetnick, throwing doubts on her credibility and using the classic tactic of "blaming the victim."
In a new filing made under the threat of perjury, Swetnick, represented by lawyer MIchael Avenatti, claims that she attended a series of parties in the early 1980s with Kavanaugh where he was aggressive with women and "spiked" the punch bowl in order to make women subject to "gang rape."
Graham disputed the likelihood of the claims in a series of tweets:
From my view, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it just did. The lawyer to porn stars has just tak… https://t.co/1MvQyOviyH— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1537981846.0
I have a difficult time believing any person would continue to go to – according to the affidavit – ten parties ove… https://t.co/AafhrFs1em— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1537981937.0
Why would any reasonable person continue to hang around people like this? Why would any person continue to put t… https://t.co/jE4kvfUPUT— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1537982017.0
I very much believe in allowing people to be heard. But I am not going to be played, and I’m not going to have my… https://t.co/1A11SZdxAU— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1537982176.0
While Swetnick's claims have not been proven, and Kavanaugh has strongly denied them, Graham unnecessarily and callously attacks Swetnick in these tweets in a deeply misogynistic way. First, he refers to Avenatti as a "lawyer to porn stars" because he represents Stormy Daniels, an adult film director and performer, in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump. The idea that Avenatti should be less credible because he has represented a porn star is inherently demeaning.
Second, Graham's claim that a woman wouldn't repeatedly put herself in abusive situations is also completely belied by what is known about sexual abuse. It's widely accepted victims of abuse often stay married to or otherwise involved with abusers for myriad reasons — denying this fact about sexual abuse is simply ignorant and amounts to blaming victims for the psychological trauma they experience.
This is especially true when Graham asks, "Isn't there some duty to warn others?" Of course, if Swetnick's allegations are true, what she is doing now, testifying to her claims, is the epitome of warning others about abuse. And Graham's reaction, immediately doubting her and criticizing her from coming forward, is exactly why so many women never tell their stories.