Over 1000 Female Yale Grads Sign Letter Supporting Brett Kavanaugh Accusers: 'We Have Their Backs'
A group of over 1,000 women who graduated from Yale are circulating an open letter to show support for Deborah Ramirez, the college classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh who has alleged that he exposed himself to her during their freshman year.
This is the second woman who has accused the embattled Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, following Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations last week in The Washington Post. Kavanaugh has vehemently denied all accusations.
“As women of Yale, some of whom are ourselves survivors of sexual assault, we stand behind Deborah Ramirez, Pierson ’87, and with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford,” says the letter, created by Christina Baker Kline, Kate Manning and Rebecca Steinitz.
The letter goes on to say that they “are coming forward as women of Yale because we have a shared experience of the environment that shaped not only Judge Kavanaugh’s life and career but our own.” They demand a thorough investigation of the allegations as well as a delay on any vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.
“We commend her courage in coming forward,” the letter says. “We ask that she be afforded respect and security to protect her privacy, quality of life, and emotional stability.”
More than 1,000 women had signed the letter as of late Monday afternoon, Steinitz, of the class of 1986, tells PEOPLE.
The letter has signatories who graduated from the Ivy League school over the last six decades through current students.
The idea to write the letter arose several days ago and before Ramirez, 53, went public with her shocking allegations Sunday in The New Yorker.
“We heard through the grapevine that there were women who had been sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh at Yale and were struggling with whether to come out, which is absolutely understandable in this day, age and climate,” Steinitz says.
“The first thing we wanted to do,” she says, “was to let them know that if they came out we would have their backs.”
Without knowing who the woman or women were, the alumnae tried to confidentially reach out to the accuser or accusers, says Steinitz, “to assure them we would provide financial support, that we would be willing to show up in Washington, D.C., and stand behind them at a press conference.”
“Once we knew the story was going to come out,” Steinitz continues, “we wanted to show our support publicly so we wrote a letter of support, shared it with our networks of Yale women, and they took it from there.”
In the New Yorker piece, Ramirez, 53, says that Kavanaugh, also 53, exposed his penis, put it in her face, “caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away” and laughed about it during a dorm-room party in Yale’s Lawrance Hall while they were freshmen in the 1983-84 school year.
Kavanaugh released a statement Sunday in response to Ramirez’s allegations, saying, “This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knewayme then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name — and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building — against these last-minute allegations.”
Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, says in a tweet he now represents a third woman with “credible information regarding Judge Kavanaugh and Mark Judge.”
“We will be demanding the opportunity to present testimony to the committee and will likewise be demanding that Judge and others be subpoenaed to testify,” he tweeted Sunday night. “The nomination must be withdrawn.”
Following news of Ramirez’s allegations, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee called for a delay in further consideration of Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile on Monday, hundreds of students from Kavanaugh’s alma mater, Yale Law School, held protests at the school and in Washington, D.C., as they demanded a fair and impartial investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh, reports the Hartford Courant.
“As a community, we are here today to show that we take allegations of sexual assault and harassment seriously,” the protest organizer said, according to the Courant. “We are here today to discuss the very real threat that Brett Kavanaugh poses to this country” as a Supreme Court nominee.
Some Yale Law School professors cancelled or rescheduled classes on Monday to allow students to protest, according to the Boston Globe.
‘‘The allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are rightly causing deep concern at Yale Law School and across the country,’’ Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken said in a statement to the Globe. ‘‘As dean, I cannot take a position on the nomination, but I am so proud of the work our community is doing to engage with these issues, and I stand with them in supporting the importance of fair process, the rule of law and the integrity of the legal system.’’
Gerken added that 50 faculty members have signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee calling for a ‘‘fair and deliberate’’ confirmation process.
If you or someone you care about is affected by sexual violence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).