Kavanaugh hearing draws mixed local reaction

The testimonies of Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were watched closely on TV's, computers and smart phones throughout southeast Wisconsin Thursday. In some ways, the confirmation hearing has turned into a trial of public opinion. 

Erin Cassidente was one of many women who rallied in downtown Milwaukee in support of Ford.

"I'm actually a sexual assault survivor," Cassidente said. "It's been 25 years for me. I believe Dr. Ford because 35 years to wait to come forward, is nothing when you experience trauma. It takes incredible courage to know you are going to be disbelieved. Nobody wants to go through that pain. She's not making this up to put her family through this. Women need to be supported and believed."

As for the people who say Kavanaugh should be considered innocent until there's proof he's guilty, Cassidente responds: "Guilt is not the question. This is a hearing. It's a job interview. This isn't a court of law trying to convict anybody. This is taking some pertinent information into account about somebody we want to put on the highest court in this land. He does not deserve to have this power with these allegations against him."

But there are many other women in our community, like Rachel Horton, who disagrees with the rush to judgment.

"I believe in the presumption of innocence," she said. "This is complicated. People are saying to believe all women, and I think that's something we have to be cautious about. Especially with allegations like this. I think Dr. Ford has been very courageous in coming forward about something that was obviously a traumatic experience for her, however, the passage of time makes it really difficult to corroborate a lot of these allegations."

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