At least 600 women who graduated from Yale University between 1966 and 2018 have signed a letter in support of Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“We 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,” the open letter states.
The letter does not corroborate Ramirez’s allegations; however, the signees write that they stand with Ramirez out of that “shared experience” — and with “all women who have faced sexual assault, not only at Yale, but across the country.”
Ramirez, who attended Yale with Kavanaugh, said he exposed himself to her during a freshman-year group drinking game. She says she was sitting on the floor in a circle of students when one male student — who she later came to realize was Kavanaugh — thrust his penis in her face. Ramirez added that another student in the group encouraged her to “kiss it” and that in the process of pushing Kavanaugh away, she touched his penis.
Ramirez, according to the New Yorker, was reluctant to come forward with her account of the incident because she had been drinking at the time and knows there are holes in her memory. The allegations were first raised by Yale alumni — not Ramirez — in July in emails.
“We ask that she be afforded respect and security to protect her privacy, quality of life, and emotional stability,” the letter says. They also extended their support to Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh, from when they were in high school.
Kavanaugh has denied both allegations.
In a statement to the New Yorker, he wrote: “This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me 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.”
Without an official investigation, a lot of character analysis is coming from open letters
Senate Republicans have been reluctant to delay Kavanaugh’s proceedings or to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct past testimony from the accusers. Without an official investigation, open letters and media reports have served as a window into the past lives of the accusers and Kavanaugh.
When Ford told the Washington Post that Kavanaugh held her down at a high school party in the 1980s and attempted to force himself on her, covering her mouth to quiet her protests, well over 1,000 women from Ford’s high school signed on to an open letter saying that they support her and believe her account.
Ford graduated from Holton Arms, a private all-girls school in Bethesda, Maryland.
“Dr. Blasey Ford’s experience is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton. Many of us are survivors ourselves,” an open letter circulated by alumnae read. Kate Gold, a 2005 Holton Arms graduate who is an acupuncturist in Maryland, noted that the letter does not refer specifically to Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh but rather to the experiences of the women more generally.
In light of Ford’s story being made public, 65 women who knew Kavanaugh in high school testified to his good character in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee last Friday.
Those women, who mostly attended all-girls high schools around Kavanaugh’s alma mater Georgetown Prep, wrote, “For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect. We strongly believe it is important to convey this information to the Committee at this time.”
However, several of Kavanaugh’s former classmates have come forward with a different experience of his character. According to an account published in the New Yorker, one former classmate said Kavanaugh’s social circle “often drank to excess,” noting that Kavanaugh could become “aggressive and even belligerent” when drunk.