Women Funders Urge Investigation of Sexual Assault Allegations

Christine Blasey Ford testified this morning before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Women funders have come together to release a joint statement in support of Dr. Ford.

Today is a remarkable day in American history, particularly for survivors of sexual assault. Today, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, bringing to light her experiences with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his alleged attempt to rape her while they were in high school. “Brett’s assault on me drastically changed my life,” she stated, and went on to recount the many ways that her life was changed by the trauma. 

Leaders in the women’s funding community have come together collectively with a statement in support of Dr. Ford, and are calling for a full investigation of her allegations, as well as the allegations of Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, in order to ensure that the U.S. Senate does not rush through the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

From the Statement, issued by the Women’s Funding Network:

Shortly after Dr. Ford came forward, so did the misogynistic and toxic remarks aiming to discredit, devalue, and delegitimize her.  Even after additional allegations of sexual assault were brought forward by Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, some in the U.S Senate continue to rush Kavanaugh’s nomination forward, asserting “they have no reason not to believe him.”

In response, countless survivors across the nation have taken to the streets, public forums, and social media platforms to demand that we must #BelieveWomen and #TrustSurvivors. The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) is the largest network of foundations in the world investing in gender equity.  We stand for the rights of women and girls to be heard. We stand in solidarity with the chorus of voices speaking out against sexual assault.  We believe Dr. Ford and we support the survivors who are courageously sharing their stories in order to combat gender-based violence that manifests itself as sexual assault and harassment. As we have seen with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, our power is in our ability to bring to the surface what is hidden and made invisible.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled the vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court for Friday morning, just 24 hours after Dr. Ford will give her testimony. This is unacceptable.  It is imperative that the President and his administration address the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh with serious consideration. These are not the kinds of concerns to “plow right through.”

As Dr. Ford takes a bold stance today in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, our members across the United States and beyond, want to make clear that we support her. We support calls for a thorough federal investigation. Kavanaugh should not be confirmed or considered eligible for confirmation until an investigation takes place.  We can no longer hold onto the codes of silence that for generations have allowed men to hurt women with impunity.

Signed:

Cynthia Nimmo, President and CEO, Women’s Funding Network

Surina Khan, CEO, Women’s Foundation of California

Kelly Nevins, Executive Director, Women’s Fund of Rhode Island

Kathy Andersen, Executive Director, The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade

Tanna Clews, CEO, New Hampshire Women’s Foundation

Sharon LaRue, Executive Director, Kentucky Foundation for Women

Michelle Zych, Executive Director, Women’s Fund of Omaha

Lee Roper-Batker, President & CEO, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

Julie Castro Abrams, Founder & CEO, How Women Lead

Sarah Ghiorse, Executive Director, NewMexicoWomen.Org

Terry Hernandez, Executive Director, Chrysalis Foundation

Nicole Baran, Executive Director, Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation

Ana L. Oliveira, President & CEO, New York Women’s Foundation

Kimberly Burnett, President & CEO, Shadhika

Amanda Brock, Executive Director, Spark

Trish Tierney, Co-founder & CEO, WAKE

This letter is available online here and will be updated as new members of the women’s funding community add their signatures.

Related:

#MeToo, and Who is Funding Sexual Assault Prevention?

Kathy LeMay on Regenerating Courage as a Social Change Agent

Women’s Funds Deploy $58.4 Million in Funding in Two Years

Scaling the Mount Everest of Gender Equality in Minnesota

Funders Take Note: #MeToo is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

Women’s Funds Show Philanthropy the Way to Transparency, Diversity

Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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