Editor’s Note: This story is part of our Running Women project following 15 compelling women candidates in 2018.
Democratic women candidates, on ballots in record numbers this year, are stepping up to amplify the voices of women sexual assault survivors, if Twitter posts by several candidates in our Running Women project are any guide.
Women running for all types of offices as Democrats took to social media to decry the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and defend Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, before during and after the dramatic Sept. 27 Senate hearings where she accused him of attempted rape a high school party in the summer of 1982.
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico posted a six-comment Twitter thread on the day of the hearings opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination and calling for it to be withdrawn due to multiple credible allegations of misconduct. “If the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh proceeds, it will undoubtedly result in a court we can’t trust,” she tweeted.
Though Lujan Grisham is not in the Senate and so could not vote, she spoke out on social media, as did many other Democratic women candidates. “I am inspired by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s courage to come forward and provide her powerful testimony at great personal cost and amid Republican attempts to rush through Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination,” she posted on Twitter.
We must send a clear message to empower sexual assault survivors to tell their stories. This is a pivotal moment in American history and we must rise to the occasion.
— MichelleLujanGrisham (@RepLujanGrisham) September 27, 2018
After the Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Oct. 6, Lujan Grisham tweeted a statement saying: “His confirmation undermines the civic trust that we have in our judicial system and sends a powerful message that sexual assault survivors do not matter and will not be believed.”
Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia, tweeted on Sept. 28 that the Senate Republicans’ rush to confirm Kavanaugh was “shameful” and Blasey’s testimony was “courageous and compelling.” “I believe women, and I believe survivors of violence always deserve to be supported and to have their voices heard,” she said.
After the courageous and compelling testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford yesterday, it is shameful that Kavanaugh’s nomination is being rushed forward.
I believe women, and I believe survivors of violence always deserve to be supported and to have their voices heard. https://t.co/rtT1PQr4Zq
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) September 28, 2018
After Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Abrams wrote a six-comment thread on Twitter encouraging people who opposed Kavanaugh to keep speaking out for change, even though they may feel discouraged. “Fighting for progress isn’t easy, and we won’t win every time – but we can never win if we don’t fight,” Abrams wrote.
Using the hashtag #BelieveSurvivors, two Democratic women congressional candidates, Haley Stevens of Michigan and Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, both posted about women who have survived sexual assault and urged Americans to show their support by standing with them and listening.
And Katie Hobbs, a state senator running for Arizona secretary of state, tweeted that she got into politics precisely “because lawmakers fundamentally did not understand the issues facing survivors.” A former social worker who has worked with many women survivors of domestic abuse, Hobbs believed she could make a difference.
I ran for office because of the stories of women I worked with at one of the largest domestic violence shelters in the country, who had the courage to stand up against their abusers. I ran because lawmakers fundamentally did not understand the issues facing survivors.
— Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) September 27, 2018
Rape and sexual assault, Hobbs asserted, are not Republican or Democratic issues and should not be politicized.
The social media feeds of Republican candidates in our project, Lena Epstein, Morgan Zegers and Kimberlin Brown, were quiet. They did not post about the hearings or mention Kavanaugh or Ford at all.