Two Powerful Women Confront Senator Jeff Flake

Jeff Flake, who is a United States Republican Senator from Arizona, was confronted this past Friday morning by two women after he stated that he would vote “yes” towards Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. As Flake was in an elevator making his way back to the hearing, these two women, Ana Maria Archila, and Maria Gallagher stopped him to ask why he planned on voting the way he was. Being that Flake is “a key swing vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee”, these women were adamant about criticizing his support of Kavanaugh and telling him how his vote would affect many sexual assault survivors in the country, including themselves.

This moment grew intense as Flake refused to answer these women’s questions and would not look either of them in the eye. The one woman, Maria Gallagher, shared her own story of sexual assault, she said directly to Flake, “I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me. I didn't tell anyone and you're telling all women that they don't matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them you are going to ignore them. That's what happened to me, and that's what you are telling all women in America, that they don't matter.” Flake was visibly uncomfortable and did not know how to respond to these women, repeatedly looking at the ground and staying silent.

Gallagher continued to share her painful story with Flake, further saying, “Don't look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn't matter what happened to me. That you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do with their bodies.” Flake continued to not answer any of their questions, and at times he only said “thank you” to these women who were sharing their valuable stories and opinions with him in an attempt to get him to see the impact that his vote would have on survivors and women in the U.S.

At one point during this exchange, Archila used her body to stop the elevator from closing and reminded Flake that she went to his office that Monday morning to tell him her story of sexual assault when she was a young girl. Flake told her that he needed to go, but she did not move and continued to say, “what you are doing is allowing someone who actually violated a woman to sit on the Supreme Court. This is not tolerable. You have children in your family. Think about them.”

Eventually, Flake went back to the hearing, but these two women showed their incredible courage and bravery for stopping him and refusing to accept silence as an answer. Gallagher who is 23, has never shared her story publicly and had an enormous amount of courage to do so in front of Flake and the media. These two women stood together without evening knowing one another in order to stand up for so many who have been voiceless and silenced.