“I Suffered Deep Humiliation”: Woman Accusing Virginia Lieutenant Governor of Sexual Assault Speaks Out

Vanessa Tyson is being represented by the same attorneys as Christine Blasey Ford.

Bob Brown/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Vanessa Tyson, the woman who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004, released a statement on Wednesday detailing her allegations.

“I cannot believe, given my obvious distress, that Mr. Fairfax thought this forced sexual act was consensual,” Tyson, who is now a professor at Scripps College, wrote as she outlined her encounter with Fairfax during the 2015 Democratic National Convention in Boston.

“After the assault, I suffered from both deep humiliation and shame,” she continued. “I did not speak about it for years, and I (like most survivors) suppressed those memories and emotions as necessary means to continue my studies, and to pursue my goal of building a successful career as an academic.”

Fairfax is second in line to become governor if Gov. Ralph Northam resigns amid a separate scandal involving a photo from Northam’s medical school yearbook identifying the governor in a photo of a pair of men in which one is wearing blackface and the other is wearing a KKK hood. Fairfax has denied Tyson’s claims, which were first reported Sunday on the same far-right news site that first exposed Northam’s racist photo just days before.

In a news conference Monday, Fairfax suggested that he was the victim of a conservative smear campaign. “Does anybody believe that’s a coincidence?” he asked. “I don’t believe anybody believes that it’s any coincidence that on the eve of my potentially being elevated, that that’s when this uncorroborated smear comes out.”

You can read Tyson’s statement in full below. She is being represented by Katz, Marshall & Banks, the same legal team hired by Christine Blasey Ford.

 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate