Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierJimmy and Rosalynn Carter celebrate 75th anniversary, longest-married presidential couple Military braces for sea change on justice reform House panel plans mid-July consideration of military justice overhaul MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday said she has "no reason to doubt" the woman who has alleged Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) sexually assaulted her.
"There’s very little that I have seen, but from what she has said I have no reason to doubt her," Speier said on CNN's "New Day."
Vanessa Tyson came forward on Wednesday to detail allegations against Fairfax. She alleged that the two had been consensually kissing during a 2004 encounter, but that Fairfax then forced her to perform oral sex.
Fairfax has denied the allegations and insisted the interaction was consensual. Both sides have retained legal counsel.
Speier, who helped author legislation last year to overhaul policies to report sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, said in Thursday's CNN appearance that Americans should be aware that many survivors of sexual assault don't come forward because of the emotional consequences of doing so.
"I think that we have got to get to the point in this country where we appreciate that only a very small percentage of persons who are sexually assaulted come forward," Speier said. "And the reason they don’t come forward is because they are trashed in the media and it is incumbent on us to believe the women."
Democratic Rep. @JackieSpeier says the woman accusing Virginia's lieutenant governor of sexual assault should be heard.— New Day (@NewDay) February 7, 2019
"I have no reason to doubt her." https://t.co/AcV0JiDAF1 pic.twitter.com/G7Vf7cIoGL
Rep. Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonVirginia races offer an early preview of Democrats' midterm challenges Late Capitol Police officer's family urges Congress to agree to Jan. 6 commission Administration withdraws Trump-era proposal to loosen protections for transgender homeless people MORE (D-Va.) on Wednesday became the first federal lawmaker to publicly publicly say she believes Tyson.
The allegations against Fairfax emerged just days after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) admitted to wearing blackface decades ago after he was already under fire for a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page. Northam first said he was in the photo before later saying that he is not one of the two pictured.