Vanessa Tyson set to appear at Stanford sex violence symposium

PALO ALTO — In the midst of a high-stakes national political maelstrom, Vanessa Tyson, the Stanford fellow at the center of a sexual assault allegation against Virginia’s lieutenant governor, is expected to take her place at a long-scheduled sexual violence symposium at Stanford on Tuesday evening.

The 5:30 p.m. event titled “Betrayal and Courage in the Age of #MeToo” at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences is sold out, but will be live-streamed through casbs.stanford.edu.

Vanessa Tyson will be a guest speaker at the CASBS Symposium: “Betrayal and Courage in the Age of #MeToo” on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (Courtesy of Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University)

Just how open Tyson will be is uncertain. Although she issued a statement through her lawyers last week about her encounter with Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax during the 2004 Democratic National Convention, she has not spoken publicly and her legal team likely will weigh in on how much she can say during her appearance on stage. Fairfax has denied the allegations, saying their contact was consensual.

Tyson, an associate professor of politics at Scripps College with a PhD from the University of Chicago, will be joined onstage by Jennifer Freyd, a University of Oregon psychology professor. Both are visiting Stanford fellows this year and plan to discuss “the underlying dynamics of sexual violence and institutional betrayal.”

Tyson’s allegations are just one facet of the political and moral chaos now slamming Virginia’s top three Democratic leaders — with calls from both Democrats and Republicans for all three to resign. Not only has a second woman come forward with sexual assault allegations against Fairfax, which he also denies, but the governor and attorney general have both admitted wearing black face while dressing up in costumes during their younger years.

So far, all three have refused to step down. The debate has become more fraught as some consider the specter of whether the two white men accused of wearing black face should remain in office while the black man accused of sexual assault should be ousted.

That Tyson’s area of focus during her fellowship is, in part, “the political discourse surrounding sexual assault,” her allegations and the resulting political drama couldn’t be more significant.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax addresses the media about a sexual assault allegation from 2004 outside of the capital building in downtown Richmond, February 4, 2019. (LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)

Tyson first made her allegations to the Washington Post in 2017, just after Fairfax was elected to the No. 2 position in Virginia’s state government. Unable to corroborate her story, in part because she didn’t tell anyone about it at the time, the Post said last week that it declined to write a story. The allegation surfaced last week after a conservative website reported that Tyson had posted a cryptic message on her private Facebook page alluding to Fairfax, who was in a position to assume the governorship if Gov. Ralph Northam resigned.

Tyson then hired the same law firm that …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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