Majority say sexual assault victims deserve to be given benefit of the doubt, says pollster

Mallory Newall, research director at Ipsos Public Affairs, said on Monday that a majority of Americans believe sexual harassment victims deserve the benefit of the doubt, amid the recent allegations against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 

“Ipsos and NPR partnered on a poll earlier this year about sexual harassment in light of the #MeToo movement, and one of the most striking findings from that poll was that eight-in-ten Americans say that victims of harassment should be given the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise,” Newall told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha on “What America’s Thinking.” 

The poll, which was published late last year, found that 79 percent of Americans believe that those who report they are sexual harassment victims should be given the benefit of the doubt. 

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said that people accused of sexual harassment should be given the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise, according to the survey. 

Newall’s comments come after California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford went public with her accusation against Kavanaugh in an interview with the Washington Post on Sunday.

Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed and forced himself on her in the early 1980s, when the two were attending neighboring high schools in Montgomery County, Md.

Kavanaugh said in a statement that he “categorically and unequivocally” Ford’s claims. 

Democrats have called for the confirmation vote on Kavanaugh to be delayed, but Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Sunday the committee intends to move ahead with the vote as planned.

Grassley said on Monday that Ford “deserves to be heard” in an “appropriate” manner before the committee.  

— Julia Manchester

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