Last month, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) proposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts if companies “restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.” Although the amendment passed, 30 Republican senators voted against it.
One of the Republicans singled out for especially harsh criticism following the vote was Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who has a track record of siding against women’s rights. The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein reports that at a town hall meeting this past weekend, a constituent confronted Vitter about his vote. The woman, a rape victim, demanded that he explain why he opposed Franken’s amendment. Vitter refused to give her a straight answer.
As Sam Stein noted at the HuffPo--"The exchange was contentious, heart wrenching, and potentially damaging."
WOMAN: It meant everything to me that I was able to put the person who attacked me [behind bars]. And what allowed me to do that was our judicial process. I showed up in court every day to make sure that happen.
VITTER: And I'm absolutely supportive of any case like that being prosecuted criminally to the full extent of the law.
WOMAN: But there are rape victims who are being kept silent.
WOMAN: But how can you support [a law] that tells a rape victim that she does not have the right to defend herself?
VITTER: Ma'am The language in question did not say that in any way shape or form.
WOMAN: But it is unconstitutional to have a law that says a woman does not have a right to defend herself.
VITTER: You realize Mr. Obama was against that amendment that his administration was against that amendment
WOMAN: But I'm not asking Obama. I'm asking you.
VITTER: Do you think he's in favor in rape?
WOMAN: I'm asking you Senator. What if it was your daughter who was raped? Would you tell her to be quiet and take it? Would you tell your daughter to be silent?