“I Suffered Deep Humiliation”: Woman Accusing Virginia Lieutenant Governor of Sexual Assault Speaks Out

Vanessa Tyson is being represented by the same attorneys as Christine Blasey Ford.

Bob Brown/AP

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Vanessa Tyson, the woman who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004, released a statement on Wednesday detailing her allegations.

“I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual,” Tyson, who is now a professor at Scripps College, wrote as she outlined her encounter with Fairfax during the 2015 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

“After the assault, I suffered from both deep humiliation and shame,” she continued. “I did not speak about it for years, and I (like most survivors) suppressed those memories and emotions as necessary means to continue my studies, and to pursue my goal of building a successful career as an academic.”

Fairfax is second in line to become governor if Gov. Ralph Northam resigns amid a separate scandal involving a photo from Northam’s medical school yearbook identifying the governor in a photo of a pair of men in which one is wearing blackface and the other is wearing a KKK hood. Fairfax has denied Tyson’s claims, which were first reported Sunday on the same far-right news site that first exposed Northam’s racist photo just days before.

In a news conference Monday, Fairfax suggested that he was the victim of a conservative smear campaign. “Does anybody believe that’s a coincidence?” he asked. “I don’t believe anybody believes that it’s any coincidence that on the eve of my potentially being elevated, that that’s when this uncorroborated smear comes out.”

You can read Tyson’s statement in full below. She is being represented by Katz, Marshall & Banks, the same legal team hired by Christine Blasey Ford.

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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