Meredith Watson, one of the women who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault, wrote a piece in the Washington Post Monday describing the harrowing and traumatic experience of coming forward with her allegation and being smeared, ignored and taken advantage of.
“Despite the professed belief of numerous elected officials in Virginia and elsewhere that Vanessa Tyson, who says that Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004, and I have brought forward credible allegations, the Virginia General Assembly has not taken the simple and responsible step of arranging the thorough public hearing that we have sought,” she wrote. “This is how the culture of sexual assault, harassment and the disempowerment of women persists.”
“I told my story, and in a single week my life was probed, exposed, examined and picked over,” she continued. “This is what women who come forward know to expect, and to fear. Few rape victims do come forward. The rapists shake free what soon becomes just a slight taint, and they move on.”
“Despite every attempt to shame me, I am not ashamed,” she said. “It is Justin Fairfax who should be ashamed. It is the Virginia legislature that should be ashamed. And it is the media that should be ashamed.”
Watson accuses Fairfax of raping her while they were both students at Duke University in 2000. She came forward after Vanessa Tyson accused Fairfax of sexually assaulting her at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Fairfax denies the charges and insists that he will not step down.