She’s lying. She’s part of a Democratic conspiracy. She confused him with someone else. But even if it did happen, it was a long time ago.
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That was the range of opinions – man of which were laced with unfounded conspiracy theories – that some of President Trump’s supporters expressed in support of embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in Tennessee and Mississippi on Monday and Tuesday.
Brandi Harbroue, who is from Mississippi and was in attendance at the president’s rally in Southaven Tuesday night, said that she is a victim of sexual molestation.
And it’s in part because of that personal experience that she said she doubts Blasey Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school decades ago in suburban Maryland.
“I’ve been sexually molested, my daughter has as well, and when that happens, you’re not going to wait 30 to 40 years later. You don’t forget bits and pieces of it. You remember every detail of it and it haunts you every single day of your life, ” Harbroue said.
This claim runs counter to what many psychological experts have said, that often shame and self-blame are central reasons why survivors of assault don’t report these crimes for decades.
But some feel strongly that Kavanaugh is being railroaded. Harbroue’s husband, Bryant, asserted “They’re doing to him just what they did to Roy Moore, ” he said, a reference to the Alabama Republican Senate candidate whose candidacy was rocked by multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
Melina Mara-Pool/Getty ImagesChristine Blasey Ford, with lawyer Debra S. Katz, left, answers questions at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 on Capitol Hill.
Regina Pennington attended President Trump’s rally in Tennessee Monday and said she has also been a victim of sexual misconduct but expressed confidence that Blasey Ford is not telling the truth about Kavanaugh.
“I’m a female, I’ve been through a lot worse than what she said and she’s lying, ” Pennington said. “I’m not saying something didn’t happen to her but I think most of the women, especially from that era, something happened to them, something happened to all of us.”
Litty Lewis of Johnson City, Tennessee, said she found Blasey Ford to be a compelling witness but believes it’s either a case of mistaken identity or, even if Kavanaugh did assault her, she says it was a long time ago and should be forgiven.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump speaks during a “Make America Great Again” rally at Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi, Oct. 2, 2018.
“I really don’t think it’s the judge, and I hope it’s not, because he’s got a wonderful family and a good career and that’s just sad to see something like that happen, especially when you’re teenagers. Even if that did happen, 36 years ago, if they can ruin somebody’s life after 36 years, I think that’s bad, ” Lewis said.
Martha Meadows, who was at Tuesday’s Mississippi rally, expressed a similar view to Lewis.
“It was a long time ago, he was a teenager, he was 17 years old, what 17-year-old boy can you find that hasn’t done something and has maybe forgotten about. We all did things when we were teenagers that we don’t want broadcast on national TV, ” she said.
Though Meadows thinks it’s most likely a case of mistaken identity, she said the gaps in Blasey Ford’s memory is reason to doubt her testimony.
“I don’t remember what I did when I was 15, but if I had a traumatic event I would remember where I was, who dropped me off, and who picked me up and she doesn’t have those answers, ” she said.
Reactions to Ford and Kavanaugh’s testimony has been mixed and remained largely along party lines, with many Republicans doubting Ford’s claims and Democrats in support of her allegations.