Politics

Assault Survivors Make Last-Ditch Pleas Against Kavanaugh

Former congressional staffer shares her story of sexual assault with Flake, Murkowski and Collins

Ally Coll Steele, a former staffer who left a prestigious law firm to work with an anti-harassment nonprofit, speaks with Roll Call Friday in June. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Letters and phone calls pouring in. Protesters flooding the Capitol building. An angry confrontation in an elevator.

Last year people took to social media at the height of the #MeToo movement to stand in solidarity with sexual assault survivors in the public eye. Now they are uniting again behind Christine Blasey Ford.

Ally Coll Steele says she was sexually assaulted by a Democratic senator as an 18-year-old intern. The onetime Hill staffer left her law firm last year to start a nonprofit to combat sexual harassment, and the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process has her sharing her story again.

She wrote a letter to Republicans Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Jeff Flake. The latter announced on Friday morning he would vote “yes” on the Supreme Court nominee.

“I chose to write to you not only because you are key votes on the nomination, but because your public comments before yesterday’s hearing indicated you understand this is a civil rights issue, not just a political one. I hope I am right about that, because the country is watching,” she wrote.

She continued, “Just as I did as an 18-year-old intern, young men and women will internalize whatever message you send about process, fairness, and equality for those subjected to sexual misconduct. I want to ensure that it is the right one.”

Survivors like Steele have come forward with their stories this week as senators heard from Ford, who says Kavanaugh held her down on a bed and attempted to rape her while both were in high school in the 1980s.

People called into C-SPAN to share their own stories of sexual assault while the high-stakes hearing aired.

Host Steve Scully took calls as women told him about experiences in grade school, through their teenage years and in college, The Washington Post reported.

On Friday, after Flake announced his support for Kavanaugh, women stopped him in the Capitol in an elevator. One said she had been raped. 

“What are you doing, senator?” one of the women yelled at the senator.

Watch: Arrested Protesters Chant ‘We Believe Christine’ Outside Kavanaugh Hearing Room

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