EMILY’s List Does Not Care About Rape Victims

President of EMILY's List Stephanie Schriock / Getty Images
• February 8, 2019 3:47 pm


Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax remains under fire after Stanford professor Vanessa Tyson accused him of sexually assaulting her at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. As I laid out Tuesday, his response to the allegation has been bizarre and erratic, including lying about his accuser's story being debunked, threatening to sue the Washington Post when they reported otherwise, and accusing the whole thing of being a plot hatched by fellow Democrats. Since then, it's also been reported that he privately said of his accuser "Fuck that bitch."

But as the Daily Beast points out, many of the liberal and women's organizations that were vocal in campaigning against alleged conservative sexual offenders—such as Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh or President Donald Trump—have suddenly gone silent when it comes to Fairfax. Take a gander in particular at EMILY's List's excuse:

But more prominent institutions, like the Democratic National Committee, NARAL, EMILY’s List and the Women’s March, have either avoided the issue or engaged cautiously. A staffer at EMILY’s List said the organization has weighed in on some sexual assault allegations, like those against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, because the people involved were in a position to affect women’s abortion rights, which is their central policy concern. Otherwise, they try to keep their focus only on electing Democratic women.

This is a stunning admission from a supposedly feminist organization. Suffice it to say, if you only advocate on behalf of rape victims only in limited cases that align with your politics, you don't actually care about rape victims.

Fairfax is also "in a position to affect women’s abortion rights," both in his current role and his possible role as governor if Ralph Northam is forced to step down. The unspoken rule here is that EMILY's List will only weigh in against accused rapists in positions of power when they disagree with EMILY's List. Evidently a pro-choice man can attack a female DNC attendee and the organization whose mission it is to boost Democratic women will just shrug.

EMILY's List is of course an explicitly Democratic PAC, so it's not terribly surprising this is their stance. But it is surprising to hear the quiet part said out loud, especially since so much of their 2018 messaging focused on the power of the #MeToo movement.

"Every single day, starting the day after the election, women from across the country have stood up to march, to call, and to vote," president Stephanie Schriock said in April. "To make their voices heard through #MeToo and #TimesUp. And to RUN. To take their places as the leaders of this country."

"Millions of women marched, empowerment and community came together in that march," Schriock said a week later on John Harwood's podcast. "And #MeToo comes out that, comes out of that recognition that I can speak my truth and not get shamed for it, because they’re going to be with me … it is the beginning of a sea change."

"This is the time, the beginning of a cultural change, that women feel that they're able to say what happened to them is very hard. And for decades if not for centuries, they were not allowed to do it, or if they did they got shamed for that."

Immediately after those statements about standing with woman, Schriock was asked whether the #MeToo movement was right to take down Democratic Senator Al Franken. She dodged the question.