Rape victim advocates: President Trump mocking Dr. Ford drives survivors 'behind closed doors'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Local women's advocates say they are appalled after President Trump's speech mocking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault testimony against Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh. Those advocates say the president's words are harming victims and even young men watching.

After calling Dr. Christine Blasey Ford a "credible" witness just days ago, Present Trump unleashed on her at a rally in Mississippi with the crowd cheering behind him.

"How did you get home? I don't remember. How did you get there? I don't remember. Where was the place? I don't remember," President Trump said, imitating the senate judiciary questions and Dr. Blasey Ford's responses. "How many years ago was it? I don't know, I don't know," he went on to cheers.

Victim advocates Yesenia Maldonado and Lillian Cartwright say that kind of rhetoric sends a powerful, and problematic, message to survivors.

"It does, I believe, drive survivors back behind closed doors," said Cartwright, director of education and training at Chicago based rape crisis organization Resilience.

Domestic violence organization Between Friends executive director Yesenia Maldonado agrees. She says the president is sending a strong message.

"You've just experienced the biggest trauma in your life and you're hearing the leader of our nation saying that it's not believable or that it's not credible," Maldonado said.

In the Mississippi crowd and at home young boys and men heard the president mocking a woman who says she was sexually assaulted.

"What neighborhood was it? I don't know. Where's the house? I don't know. Upstairs downstairs. I don't know but I had one beer, that's what I remember," President Trump said.

Cartwright said those words essentially tell boys, "that their behavior towards girls or women will be excused."

Instead of saying, "your behavior has consequences and you have a choice whether you choose to harm someone or not," Maldonado said.

Because these advocates say belief matters.

"If adults are mirroring some of the rhetoric and commentary that the President of the United States has shared, we can anticipate that young person may not share that their uncle is touching them, may not share that they've been groped at school by a classmate, may not share that their coach has made inappropriate remarks," Cartwright said. "They'll hold that information to themselves if they hear adults not believe survivors, particularly one as credible as Dr. Ford."

If you're dealing with trauma from sexual violence or need help please feel free to use these resources:

Resilience: https://www.ourresilience.org

Between Friends: http://www.betweenfriendschicago.org
Rape Crisis Hotline: https://ywcachicago.org/our-work/sexual-violence-support-services/rape-crisis-hotline/
Call 888-293-2080 in Chicago Metropolitan Area
Call 630-971-3927 in DuPage County
Call 708-748-5672 in the South Suburbs
RAINN National sexual assault hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE and RAINN.org
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