Let me begin by establishing my creds. I spent seven years as a private investigator specializing in criminal defense. I had a contract with a public defender program and I helped defend people accused of serious felonies. Murder, armed robbery, rape, just about any criminal horror one person can inflict on another.
I have no idea how many rape cases I’ve worked. A lot. I have no idea how many rape victims I’ve interviewed. But I know this. In seven years there was never a single case in which I thought an adult woman making an accusation of any form of sexual assault was lying about it. Sometimes they got details confused, sometimes their accounts were jumbled, but I never ever had the sense that they were making it up. And remember, I was employed by the lawyer defending the accused rapist.
Seven years of criminal defense work has made me too cynical to accept the notion that women and girls never lie about sexual assault. People are capable of lying about everything. Earlier I specifically referred to adult women making accusations because I worked a case in which a girl who’d just turned 13 did, in fact, demonstrably lie about being sexually assaulted in order to get an adult in trouble. I also worked a case in which I suspected a teen-aged girl might have been lying.
So, just to be clear, in seven years of investigating I had one case in which I know an alleged teen-aged victim was lying and one case in which the victim might have been lying. I accept that it’s always possible that somebody claiming to have been sexually assaulted could be lying about it. But my experience suggests it’s incredibly rare, and I’ve never seen it from an adult.
Christine Blakely Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her back in the early 1980s. He categorically denies it. My training makes it impossible for me to simply accept either account. One of them is probably lying. (I say ‘probably’ because sometimes the world is just flat out weird as fuck and almost anything is possible.)
I can think of no logical reason for Ford to lie about this. I can think of no logical reason she would have first told it as a lie six years ago in couples therapy, long before anybody considered Kavanaugh might become a Justice on the Supreme Court. I can think of no logical benefit or advantage Ms. Ford might obtain by lying about this.
On the other hand, it’s easy to think of dozens of reasons for Brett Kavanaugh to lie about it. It’s easy to think of dozens of ways Kavanaugh would benefit from lying about this. It’s very easy indeed to believe that the existence of a letter signed by 65 women saying they knew Kavanaugh during his prep school years and that he was a complete gentleman toward women — a letter obviously prepared prior to Ms. Ford’s public accusation — is evidence that Kavanaugh was seeding the field to bolster a lie.
Does that mean Kavanaugh MUST be lying and Ford MUST be telling the truth? No. It simply means there’s ample reason to believe her and almost no reason to believe him.
I keep hearing folks say Always believe the women. I can’t. I’d like to, but I can’t. Everything in my experience — everything in my experience — tells me that if a woman says she’s been sexually harassed or assaulted, she’s almost certainly telling the truth. Every day our culture reinforces that ugly truth. But despite all that, when I hear an accusation of sexual assault, my inner PI forces me to weigh the accuser against the accused.
I’ve done that in this case. And at this point my inner PI has arrived at this conclusion with a high degree of confidence: Brett Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit.