Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is “cheered on” by the #MeToo movement, she said on Wednesday, the evening before U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who is accusing him of sexual assault when they were high school students in the 1980s are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I am really cheered on” by the #MeToo movement, Ginsburg said. “Because these #MeToo complaints—every woman of my vintage has not just one story, but many stories. But we thought there was nothing you could do about it. Boys will be boys, so just find a way to get out of it. #MeToo was also an example of women coming together in numbers. Women nowadays are not silent about bad behavior.”
Ginsburg has previously discussed #MeToo, according to the National Law Journal and the Washington Post. In February, she called the movement “a very healthy development.” At that time, and in a January interview, she talked about an experience she had in a chemistry class at Cornell University.
A teaching assistant had offered to help her by giving her a practice exam the day before a test. When she began taking the test, she realized it was exactly the same as the practice exam. “And I knew exactly what he wanted in return,” Ginsburg told journalist Nina Totenberg.
Ginsburg said she deliberately made two mistakes on the test, and later confronted the instructor. “How dare you?” she asked.
U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, a Republican from South Carolina, made the joke last week in an appearance before a Kiwanis club. “Did you all hear the latest breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings?” he asked. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”
Norman tweeted that the joke was intended to point to “the circus-like atmosphere” in Washington, D.C. “People really need to learn to lighten up,” he wrote.
A variation of the joke was tweeted by Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Republicans. The tweet included an image of Ginsburg with the caption, “Abraham Lincoln grabbed my ass in 1862.”
“Trivializing sexual violence is never a good thing,” said Ian Henderson of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. “Unfortunately, it sends a message that minimizes the impact of sexual violence and can provide yet another reason why [a] survivor may choose not to report.”
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