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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway: 'I'm a victim of sexual assault'

Ms Conway has defended the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court judge

White House aide Kellyanne Conway. Reuters
White House aide Kellyanne Conway. Reuters

Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to United States President Donald Trump, said on Sunday that she was the victim of sexual assault and that women who survive such experiences should be heard.

"I feel very empathetic, frankly, for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment and rape," Ms Conway told CNN while defending the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault by one woman and sexual misconduct by two other women.

"I'm a victim of sexual assault," she said.

Mr Kavanaugh's court nomination has been upended by the allegations and Mr Trump was forced to order the FBI to investigate them after several moderate Republicans, whose votes could be crucial for Mr Kavanaugh's confirmation, called for a probe.

One accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, detailed her allegation in testimony before a Senate panel on Thursday, claiming that Mr Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were in high school in the 1980's. Appearing afterwards before the committee, Mr Kavanaugh repeated his categorical denial.

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The allegations have led other sexual assault victims to come forward to tell their stories.

Ms Conway suggested on Sunday that the ire of many victims was improperly pointed at Republican supporters of Mr Kavanaugh, as opposed to the perpetrators of assaults.

"It's not a meeting of the #MeToo movement," she told CNN. "It's raw partisan politics."

For the past 12 months, women and men have shared stories of sexual harassment and abuse under the social media hashtag #MeToo. In that time, the careers of a number of prominent men in entertainment, politics and finance have been toppled in the face of accusations of sexual misconduct.