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Ahead of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Senator Murray calls on her Senate colleagues to take the experiences of women & survivors seriously

“Right now, in this moment, here in the United States Senate, these are the questions. Will women be heard? Or will women be ignored? Will women bravely coming forward to share the most horrific experiences of their lives be trusted? Or will they be treated like liars?”

ICYMI: Demanding a Delay for Vote on Trump Supreme Court Nominee, Senators Murray Joins Women and Advocates to Shine a Spotlight on Judge Kavanaugh’s Sexual Assault Allegations and His Offensive Record on Women’s Health – LINK

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

(Washington, D.C.)  – Calling on Senate Republicans to launch a full and fair investigation into multiple sexual assault allegations against  President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and end their rush to confirm him to the nation’s highest court, today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Assistant Senate Democratic Leader and the highest-ranking woman in the United States Senate, called on her colleagues to listen to the experiences of women and survivors of sexual assault, and to take them seriously, as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to hear testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, one of Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers.

“I decided to run for the United States Senate after I saw Senators get these questions wrong in the Anita Hill hearings of 1991. I ran to be a voice for the women and men across the country who thought it was absolutely wrong for her to be ignored and attacked—swept aside and disbelieved. I ran for right here, in this moment, in the United States Senate—to make sure we don’t allow that to happen again. For my daughter—who sat by my side as we watched that all-male Judiciary Committee grill Anita Hill. For her daughters—my granddaughters—who are not quite old enough to understand what will happen on Thursday, but who will grow up in a world that will treat them better or worse depending on how women are treated this week. For Caitlin—and the women just like her who share their stories with me—some out loud in front of crowds, some in whispered voices after everyone else has left. And for the women we don’t know—who have buried their experiences deep down inside—who have kept their secret for decades because they have been too scared or intimidated to come forward, and who are watching to see what happens here, right now, in this moment, in the United States Senate.  I am proud to bring their voices to the Senate floor today and I am truly hopeful that enough Republicans stand with them and that we can do the right thing,” said Senator Murray in her floor speech.

Senator Murray continued: “Republican leaders need to listen—truly listen—to the women coming forward to share their experiences. Republican leaders need to investigate—truly investigate—the allegations they are making, and the inconsistencies in Judge Kavanaugh’s statements on so many issues. And Republican leaders need to end this scramble and rush.  They need to slow down—and do this right. Women and men are watching—they are paying attention—and they are not going to forget.”

Watch video of Senator Murray’s floor speech HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech below.

“M. President—I come to the floor to join my colleagues in lifting up the voices of women across the country who, right now, are being ignored, swept aside, and attacked, and in calling on our Republican colleagues to join us, and do everything we can to make sure women are heard, listened to, and respected as we debate and deliberate over Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

“M. President, recently I was back home in Washington state to talk to my constituents about the Supreme Court nomination, and I met a woman named Caitlin who bravely told me and others about her experience being sexually assaulted.  She shared her story—it was July 2016, she had gone to a concert that evening, and she was sexually assaulted that night.  But it was how she explained what happened after that I want to share today.

“She said “as a sexual assault survivor, I know firsthand that these experiences have a lasting impact and the pain can’t be overstated. In the aftermath of sexual violence, it’s common to feel humiliated and to blame ourselves; to just want to forget it ever happened. I didn’t want to admit that I’d ‘allowed’ this to happen to me, so I tried to convince myself that the attack had never occurred. For these reasons and so many others, it’s common to wait months or…years before confiding in anyone, even those closest to us.”

“Caitlin continued, “going public with our stories opens us up to criticism ranging from victim-blaming to accusations that we’re liars and attention seekers, in addition to far uglier insults that I won’t repeat right now. I know that coming forward and forever tying our names to one of the most terrifying, degrading experiences of our lives isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.”

“M. President—sadly, Caitlin is not alone. Far from it. And she shared her story with me so that her story can help others—so that I can lift it up—make sure it is being heard—and help her make a difference.

“So M. President, this brings me to the question I want to ask here today: What is this really about—right now—in this moment, here in the United States Senate?

“There’s a whole lot of confusion—a whole lot of mud being kicked up—and a whole lot of distractions. But what is this moment, right now, really about?

“Not the question of this confirmation—though that’s clearly important.

“Not whether or not we think Judge Kavanaugh would make a good Supreme Court Justice—or whether or not we can trust him despite the lies we’ve already heard on issue after issue—though those, of course, are critical questions too.

“And not even whether or not my colleagues will believe that the allegations brought against him are true once all the evidence is weighed and all investigations are complete—though of course, for many of us, that question must be dug into.

“But M. President, to me, and to millions of people across the country, this moment, right now, is about the answer to a few simple questions.

“Is the Senate a place where women are listened to, heard, and respected? Or is it still just one more place where women’s voices are swept under the rug? Where our voices are ignored—attacked—and undermined.

“Right now, in this moment, in the United States Senate….

“….While the President of the United States is saying a woman can’t be trusted because she was drunk…

“….While he is tweeting that Dr. Ford can’t be trusted because if it were really as bad as she said it was, she would have reported it back when she was 15, when it happened…

“….While Republican leaders are saying they will “plow right through” this…

“….While they are desperately trying to distract people by pointing to the process and the timing—anything but the substance…

“…While they hire a woman they are calling their “female assistant”—the lawyer they found to ask Dr. Ford the questions they can’t trust the Republican men on the Judiciary Committee to ask themselves…

“….While they are already sweeping past this hearing and scrambling to line up a Committee vote right away…

“…While they are planning to stay through the weekend to rush to a vote on the Senate floor that their Leader says he is “confident” they “will win”—before Dr. Ford has even had a chance to be heard—and a vote that doesn’t need to be rushed for any good reason.

“M. President, right now, in this moment, here in the United States Senate, these are the questions.

“Will women be heard? Or will women be ignored? Will women bravely coming forward to share the most horrific experiences of their lives be trusted? Or will they be treated like liars?

“Will women like Caitlin, like Dr. Ford, like Ms. Ramirez—will they be respected, listened to, and heard—or will they be pushed aside—put in their places—and told to remain quiet?

“Right now, in this moment, in the United States Senate—what kind of message will we send to women and girls across the country? Who are watching right now—who are looking to see how Dr. Ford is being treated, whether or not Ms. Ramirez—who is reportedly willing to testify to the Committee under oath—whether her story will be taken seriously and even be investigated, and are grappling with what may be one of the toughest decisions of their lives—should they report a sexual assault?  Should they try to bring a perpetrator to justice—and make sure he faces the consequences he deserves? Or should they keep it to themselves, worried about the ways they would be attacked, ignored, disbelieved, interrogated about what they drank, what they wore, who they told, and when?

“Right now, in this moment, in the United States Senate—what kind of message will we send to men and boys across the country? Who are watching right now—who will either see women empowered to share their experiences, men facing the consequences of their actions, and a message sent that this is not acceptable behavior in high school, in college, or anywhere else. Or who will once again hear that women can be attacked and abused—disrespected and used—and then ignored or attacked all over again when they share their stories.

“M. President, I decided to run for the United States Senate after I saw Senators get these questions wrong in the Anita Hill hearings of 1991.

“I ran to be a voice for the women and men across the country who thought it was absolutely wrong for her to be ignored and attacked—swept aside and disbelieved.

“I ran for right here, in this moment, in the United States Senate—to make sure we don’t allow that to happen again.

“For my daughter—who sat by my side as we watched that all-male Judiciary Committee grill Anita Hill.

“For her daughters—my granddaughters—who are not quite old enough to understand what will happen on Thursday, but who will grow up in a world that will treat them better or worse depending on how women are treated this week.

“For Caitlin—and the women just like her who share their stories with me—some out loud in front of crowds, some in whispered voices after everyone else has left.

“And for the women we don’t know—who have buried their experiences deep down inside—who have kept their secret for decades because they have been too scared or intimidated to come forward, and who are watching to see what happens here, right now, in this moment, in the United States Senate.

“I am proud to bring their voices to the Senate floor today and I am truly hopeful that enough Republicans stand with them and that we can do the right thing.

“Republican leaders need to listen—truly listen—to the women coming forward to share their experiences.

“Republican leaders need to investigate—truly investigate—the allegations they are making, and the inconsistencies in Judge Kavanaugh’s statements on so many issues.

“And Republican leaders need to end this scramble and rush.  They need to slow down—and do this right.

“Women and men are watching—they are paying attention—and they are not going to forget.

“Thank you M. President, I yield the floor.”