Last Thursday, all eyes were on Washington, watching the dramatic testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and the fiery response from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as he denied having sexually assaulted Ford 36 years ago.
The conflicting accounts triggered a limited F.B.I. investigation and gripped a nation fiercely divided by whom they believed.
Days later, presidential adviser Kelleyanne Conway weighed in on the matter while appearing on State of the Union and revealed to CNN’s Jake Tapper that she, too, was a victim of sexual assault.
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 30, 2018
Conway began, “I feel very empathetic, frankly, to victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape.”
She then paused and cleared her throat before revealing to Tapper “I’m a victim of sexual assault.”
“I don’t expect Judge Kavanaugh or Jake Tapper or Jeff Flake or anybody to be held responsible for that,” Conway added. “You have to be responsible for your own conduct.”
Tapper responded, saying “This is the first time I’ve heard you talk about something personal like that and I’m really sorry.”
It was a rare moment of vulnerability for Conway and her admission caused quite a stir.
Though many expressed sympathy for her experience, some felt her statement misdirected blame on to the victims of sexual assault and questioned how Conway wasn’t more understanding of Dr. Ford’s decision to testify.
I'm really sorry you experienced this too, Kellyanne. You continued: “I don’t expect … anybody to be held responsible for that. You have to be responsible for your own conduct.” That breaks my heart to hear. You are NOT to blame for someone assaulting you, Kellyanne! Ever!
— Marisa Raymond (@MarisaRaymond77) September 30, 2018
Kellyanne, you're saying those who *didn't* sexually assault you should not be held responsible for what was done to you. Okay.
But now shouldn't the person who *did* sexually assault you be held accountable?
If so, you understand what Ford seeks: accountability.
If not, WTF?
— diana (@thereisnohurry) September 30, 2018
“You have to responsible for your own conduct.” Doesn't that include the perpetrator of sexual assault?
— IAmDamion (@themorganrpt) September 30, 2018
I am sad this happened to you @KellyannePolls. In light of what you said isn’t #ChristineBlaseyFord doing what you stated and only holding the victim to account? She isn’t attacking anyone but the person who has done the wrongdoing…
— Tiffani (@goldenchild_313) September 30, 2018
And while sympathy for Conway’s experience continued, many wonder how she would fare if her revelation was met with the same public scrutiny and skepticism as Dr. Ford’s.
Did she report? Was she believed? Did she get treated with respect and understanding? Were they caught? Did she tell anyone right away? I hope she got justice and not #humiliated like @GOP and her did to #Ford
— JoJo Liberati (@Karmyk_Li8erati) September 30, 2018
Kellyanne should we believe you even though you have no proof? Should we trust your word? I mean you haven’t told us where it happened or when it happened. You don’t have any details so I don’t believe you!! How does that feel?!
— SueMe (@Sueme39164137) September 30, 2018
I'm curious if @KellyannePolls reported her sexual assault and/or if she told her friends and family immediately? Bc I have heard many times that Dr. Ford is not believable bc her and her “lovely family” never reported the assault to the police and Dr. Ford didn't tell her friend
— SongBird (@AshilyTweet) September 30, 2018
At one point, Conway emphasized her belief that both victim and accused deserve to be treated fairly. In response, Tapper asked Conway about working for a President who has called the numerous women accusing him of sexual assault “liars.”
“Don’t conflate that with this, and certainly don’t conflate it with what happened to me. Would be a huge mistake,” Conway said. “Let’s not always bring Trump in everything that happens in this universe.”
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 30, 2018
Commenters were quick to point out that Conway had earlier invoked the Clinton sex scandal as a symbol of Senate hypocrisy and that her role as a spokesperson for the Trump administration made the President’s own allegations of sexual misconduct more than relevant.
She's so all over the place, as usual. 1) She brings up Clinton/oral sex in oval office – what the heck does that have to do with THIS? 2) She then chides Tapper for mentioning Trump's quote about his own allegations shaping his opinion of Kavanaugh. Can't have it both ways KC!
— Arroway (@ellieannarroway) September 30, 2018
She is a spokesperson and advisor to Trump. That's why she is on the show. However she doesn't want Trump brought into the conversation. She's ridiculous!
— Barbara (@babsnyny) September 30, 2018
“Let's not bring Trump into a discussion about Trump's nominee.”
— Natesh Karna (@nstephenk) October 1, 2018
You just said you'd been sexually assaulted. You are in contact with Trump all the time. Trump is a self-professed serial sexual predator with 2 dozen accusers. The dots connect themselves. #KellyannesFirstTruth
— Aaron M. King (@Facts_Matter) October 1, 2018
In the end, while many sympathized with Conway’s experience, few found themselves sympathetic to her point of view.
That's her choice. Others may believe the perpetrators should be held accountable. Especially if they are going to be a judge on the Supreme Court.
— Allison Veit (@veit2coffee) October 1, 2018