Already, data suggests that as many as three out of every four women do not bring forward claims of harassment, fearful that they will either be disbelieved or their lives will be upended, or both. Dr. Ford’s experience, the worry goes, will only reaffirm the notion that survivors have limited forms of recourse.
“It is horrible,” said Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV). “This shows [assault survivors] that their message doesn’t matter, and be afraid to come forward because we don’t have a system in place that is going to embrace you and hold individuals accountable or even do a thorough investigation.”
For Murphy, Cortez-Masto and others, the Kavanaugh debate was not only harmful for the way it exhibited the hurdles that assault survivors must overcome. It was also damaging in how it confirmed a truism of politics, one that has become accentuated in the age of Donald Trump: There is only ever a limited price to pay for lawmakers who are dismissive of the #MeToo movement.