Amid the outrage surrounding the United States Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh’s recent sexual assault accusations comes some strong words from Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) who told men in political power to “shut up and step up.”
Earlier this week, Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey Ford, who claimed the abuse happened decades ago when they were still teenagers. Ford has since received both support and condemnation from both sides of the political spectrum.
Hirono expressed her support for Ford at a recent press conference while holding men with power responsible for making it difficult for victims to come forward with allegations.
“Guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country,” she was quoted in response to a question whether her being one of four women on the Senate Judiciary Committee impacts the Kavanaugh confirmation proceedings. “I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.”
Cornyn chuckled a little. Hirono’s staffers were visibly taken aback.
— Laura Barrón-López (@lbarronlopez) September 18, 2018
Ford told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh corralled her into a bedroom when she was in high school during a gathering in Maryland. Kavanaugh reportedly pinned her to a bed, groped her over her clothes, and attempted to pull off the clothing she was wearing.
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 5, 2018
Kavanaugh has since released a statement denying the accusation, noting that he’d never done anything like what she described “to her or to anyone.”
While a public hearing about Ford’s allegations has been set for September 24, Ford has yet to respond to requests to testify.
“Not only do women like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed. They need to be believed,” Hirono further stated in the interview. “We cannot continue the victimization and the smearing of someone like Dr. Ford.”
“We have to create an environment where women can come forward and be heard and be listened to,” Hirono added. “I want to thank Dr. Ford. I commend her courage. I believe her.”