Sen. Mazie Hirono Asks Men To Shut Up, Step Up, And 'Do The Right Thing'

The senator called for fair treatment of Brett Kavanaugh's accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

Hawaii's Sen.  Mazie Hirono is speaking out in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford's allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In a press conference held on Tuesday, the senator didn't hold back while addressing the accusations, urging men in the United States — and particularly those in government —  to "shut up and step up" and "do the right thing."

"Guess who's perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It's the men in this country," she said. "I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change."

The senator's fiery message comes just days after Ford went public with her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school. The Supreme Court nominee has continued to categorically deny the allegations, callng them "completely false."

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Since coming forward to the media, Ford has faced multiple attacks from critics who question her credibility. Her testimony has been requested at a Monday hearing, which the Senate Judiciary Committee so far refuses to delay, despite her requests that she would like the an FBI investigation of  her allegations prior to appearing. 

She has also received hundreds of death threats, forcing her to move out of her home.

Hirono, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee,  lashed out at the response, saying, "This is so blatantly unfair to her.... Why should we participate in a victimization of someone who has the courage to come forward? And she is under absolutely no obligation to come forward and participate in a smearing of her and her family."

The senator also called for fairer treatment of Ford, saying, "Not only do women like Dr. Ford, who bravely comes forward, need to be heard, but they need to be believed. They need to be believed. We cannot continue the victimization and the smearing of someone like Dr. Ford."

Hirono's message to her male colleagues are especially important, given the disparity in gender representation at the highest levels of government. According to Politico, women make up only about 20 percent of Congress — including 84 out of 435 seats in the House and 23 out of 100 seats in the Senate. The skewed ratio means that policies that directly affect women all over the world (such as health care) are often led in the hands of all-male or mostly male committees. If Ford testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, she will be questioned by 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. All of the Republican senators will be male.

"We have to create an environment where women can come forward and be heard and be listened to," Hirono said. "I want to thank Dr. Ford. I commend her courage. I believe her."

Hirono has long been an active participant in the fight against sexual misconduct. She made sure to address the issue in Kavanaugh's hearings last week. "Since you became a legal adult, have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment or assault of a sexual nature?" the senator asked point blank of the nominee, to which he replied "No."

Cover image via Kelly Bell / Shutterstock.com.

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