GOP senator dodges tearful rape victim’s questions
Confronted by an impassioned rape survivor at a town hall Saturday night, Sen. David Vitter tried everything from sympathizing to deflecting blame onto the Obama administration for his decision to vote against an anti-rape amendment.
Finally, amid shouts from protesters, the Louisiana Republican simply walked away.
Vitter was one of 30 Republican senators who voted against Sen. Al Franken’s amendment, passed in the Senate last month, that would de-fund government contractors who prevent employees from seeking justice when they have been raped.
The inspiration for the amendment was Jamie Leigh Jones, who was allegedly gang-raped by co-workers at Halliburton subsidiary KBR while on assignment in Baghdad, and was then prevented from pursuing the matter in courts.
At the town hall meeting Saturday, a woman identifying herself as a “rape survivor” confronted Vitter and asked him why he voted against the amendment.
“I’m a rape survivor, and it meant everything to me to put [away] the person who attacked me,” she told Vitter.
Vitter responded, “I’m absolutely supportive of any case like that, that they are prosecuted criminally to the full extent of the law.”
“But there are rape victims that are being silenced,” the unnamed woman responded. “How can you support a company that tells a rape victim that she does not have a right to defend herself?”
“Do you realize President Obama was against that amendment, and his administration was against that amendment?” Vitter asked.
“But I’m not asking Obama, I’m asking you, senator,” the woman said.
At that point, Vitter walked briskly away from the woman and out of the town hall.
“What if it was your daughter that was raped, would you tell her to be quiet?” the woman shouted as Vitter walked away. “Would you tell your daughter to be silent?”
Vitter’s assertion that the Obama administration opposed the amendment is only partly correct. The Pentagon opposed the amendment because it argued it would be virtually impossible to enforce. The White House stated that it supported “the intent of the amendment,” but wanted to see it re-worked “to make sure it is enforceable.”
This video is from YouTube, broadcast Oct. 31, 2009.