After watching the Brett Kavanaugh hearing, Candace Faber texted a friend. “I want to name my assailant,” she wrote. “He’s in the state senate.” Sen. Joe Fain denies the allegation.
As Candace Faber watched Christine Blasey Ford testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this past week, she took note of the men running the hearing, too.
Alone in her apartment, she listened as some senators began their daylong effort to undermine Ford, in part by casting doubt on two separate allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Why didn’t one woman’s trauma suffice?
Looking for help?King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
24-Hour Resource Line: 1-888-998-6423
Shepherd’s Counseling Services
Offers long-term, affordable therapy for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse
National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline
“The sense that Dr. Ford’s testimony on its own would not be enough was present,” Faber told The Seattle Times on Saturday. “And that was unacceptable to me.”
Most Read Local Stories
- Coronavirus daily news updates, July 15: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- Is the Trump base starting to crack? Some signs around Washington state point to yes
- Bothell police officer killed in shooting was a 'local kid through and through' VIEW
- Teen dies after jumping off bridge into Snoqualmie River
- Inslee pauses reopening of Washington's counties through July 28 as COVID-19 cases spike
Hours after the start of the hearing, Faber texted with a friend. “I want to name my assailant,” she wrote. “He’s in the state senate.”
Faber typed a series of tweets and, as she walked from her apartment toward the light-rail station, she sent them.
“If it’s bad that Blasey Ford waited to raise this until Kavanaugh got to the highest levels of government, then maybe the rest of us shouldn’t sit on our secrets just crossing our fingers that they won’t come into more power,” Faber wrote. “So okay, let’s do it. @senatorfain, you raped me the night I graduated from Georgetown in 2007 … I’m done being silent.”
Since then, her phone has been flooded with notifications from friends, strangers and reporters.
“I just kind of felt like maybe at this point even if it’s just me — even if I’m the only person he ever did this to — it still counts,” Faber said. “My life still matters.”
Though Faber had talked and written for years about being sexually assaulted, it was the first time she publicly named Republican state Sen. Joe Fain. The decision put her in a spotlight familiar for accusers in the #MeToo moment, where their lives are suddenly subject to intense scrutiny.
How far are they expected to go to prove their allegations, and how much of their intimate life — like therapists’ notes, in the case of Ford — are they expected to give up?
Faber rejects the expectation that survivors must share endless details and intimate personal documents to be believed.
“Why do women have to splay our entire lives wide open just to get a tiny bit of credibility?” Faber said.
Faber has not shared with The Times the names of friends who she said she told about the assault soon afterward. She later may give their names to reporters if she gets her friends’ permission, she said. The Times has been unable to independently identify them.
Fain has denied the allegation and invited an investigation. The Auburn Republican and attorney was first elected in 2010 and is now up for re-election. He has not addressed details of Faber’s account and has declined requests for an interview.
Lawmakers of both political parties and Gov. Jay Inslee said the allegation should be investigated, but it’s not clear how such an inquiry would proceed.
“In deference to any future investigative process,” Fain said in a statement Sunday, “I will be limiting my public comments about this matter.”
Faber alleges Fain raped her in a Washington, D.C., hotel room after a night of drinking and dancing. According to Faber, she met Fain while touring the U.S. Capitol with her parents and later invited him out.
Fain became drunk and “belligerent” and demanded she walk him back to his hotel, refusing to leave alone or take a cab, she said. At the hotel, Faber said, Fain pinned her to the bed, where she told him to stop and tried to kick him away. He then asked if she had a condom, she said no and he raped her, she said.
“I said no, and I physically used all of the strength that I had to try to get him to stop, and he didn’t stop,” Faber said. “I didn’t feel like I was fighting one guy. I felt like I was fighting an entire culture — an entire set of beliefs … Does it matter to you whether the person consents or not? And it clearly didn’t matter to him.”
In the years since, Faber has, on multiple occasions, privately named Fain as her assailant.
In 2008, the year after the alleged assault, Faber got an email promoting Fain’s appearance on TV in support of a local ballot measure. She forwarded the email to a friend and wrote, “This is the guy who date-raped me a year and a half ago,” according to an email she showed to The Seattle Times.
Friends say Faber told them in 2015 and 2016 that she had been raped in 2007. One told The Seattle Times that Faber said a “state legislator” raped her. The other said Faber named Fain.
Faber also told her parents and UW colleagues that Fain raped her, according to KUOW. Faber’s account of the alleged rape to The Seattle Times and KUOW is consistent with online writings she published in 2013 and June of this year.
Faber, 35, grew up in Federal Way and attended the University of Washington before getting a master’s degree from Georgetown University in May 2007. She worked as a foreign-service officer and later in Seattle’s Information Technology Department. She has been a guest faculty member in the UW Information School for the past two years.
In 2017, Faber was diagnosed with acute psychosis with a marked stressor, and left her city job. She said the rape contributed but was not the sole factor. “Acknowledging what happened to me instead of trying to hide it or bury it has been essential to trying to recover from trauma,” she said.
Faber said she does not plan to seek charges or file a lawsuit but would cooperate in any investigation.
Silence is part of what allows sexual violence to continue, she said. “So I’m not going to be silent. Period. I’m not going to. That’s it. That’s my agenda.”