Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Photos by Nikki Ritcher

Stanford Professor Accusing Virginia Lt. Governor Of Sexual Assault Speaks Out

Megan Goldsby
February 13, 2019 - 8:18 am

PALO ALTO — The Stanford University  fellow who's accused Virginia's second-ranking elected official of sexual assault spoke about sexual violence on Tuesday night, but never directly mentioned her experience with Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. 

In her first public appearance since last week describing how Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex during the 2004 Democratic Party's convention, Vanessa Tyson appeared at a Stanford symposium, speaking broadly about the bravery of women in the #MeToo movement. 

"Because every women matters, every survivor matters, regardless of their background, regardless of where they come from," said Tyson. "None of us are disposable." 

The experience of Christine Blasey Ford, who was ridiculed and threatened for accusing Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, typified the public criticism that survivors of rape and sexual attacks endure, Tyson said. 

"There is a recurring theme, at least when women come forward. This deliberate attempt to try to undermine someone's credibility," said Tyson. 

"As she shook, we shook with her. As she told her story, we felt the pain that she so visibly demonstrated," Tyson said later, referring to Blasey Ford's congressional testimony that temporarily delayed Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court. 

Tyson released a detailed statement last week describing her alleged encounter with Fairfax that began with consensual kissing in a Boston hotel room, but escalated into assault. 

"I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual. To be very clear, I did not want to engage in oral sex with Mr. Fairfax and I never gave any form of consent," Tyson said in her previous statement. 

A second woman more recently came forward to accuse Fairfax of rape when they were college student. 

Fairfax has denied the accusations.