Let the victim speak, so we can move forward

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In the context of this piece, the word “victim” is being used to describe the woman accusing the Lt. Governor of assault. It is not being used to imply guilt on any party involved at this time.

By Brandon Jarvis

Late Sunday night, a far-right media outlet published a story implying that Lt. Governor Fairfax sexually assaulted a woman at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. “A woman named Vanessa Tyson, who is a fellow at Stanford University, says that a man who allegedly sexually assaulted her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention is now an office-holder about to get a “very big promotion,” according to a screenshot provided by a tipster.”

Fairfax responded immediately to the story by releasing a statement saying the Washington Post investigated the story last year and they failed to find enough evidence to publish. Fairfax also threatened to sue, saying he would “take appropriate legal action against those attempting to spread this defamatory and false allegation.”

This is the same site that published the Northam photo, leading Democrats to believe this is a hit on their party and it’s potential new leader in the coming weeks.

But Democrats also have to take a step back and recognize the progress that has been made for victims of sexual assault these past few years. Discrediting or disqualifying a claim based on suspicion of the opposition party planning this is counterproductive and counteractive to progressive thinking.

Detractors and supporters immediately came out and started attacking outlets for sharing a survivor’s story without permission. But early Monday morning, the victim stated on the RVA Dirt Facebook page that she did give permission for her story to be shared.

The calls for resignation have been more hesitant than they were for Governor Northam after his photo scandal. To be fair, Northam’s scandal is cut and dry – the photo is on his page. Physical proof exists.

In sexual assault cases, we don’t often have the luxury of physical proof. Especially if the assault allegedly happened nearly 15 years ago.

So we have to wait, investigate, and listen. Give the victim a safe space to tell her story and give her a chance to answer questions if she wishes to do so. We also should give Fairfax the chance to respond. Then at that time, if the information provided leads you to call for resignation, find a megaphone and shout it loud and proud.

As for our followers that say the Republicans refuse to resign over allegations – a liberal friend told me this morning that regardless of the Republicans letting this slide among their own, she doesn’t want her party to allow this of their leaders.

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