Meredith Watson recently publicly accused Virginia’s lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax of raping her when they were in college at Duke University nearly two decades ago. Now, she’s written an op-ed for the Washington Post and slammed the lack of action from the Virginia General Assembly.
In the column, Watson stressed that she has been seeking a public hearing in vain.
“I have brought forward credible allegations, the Virginia General Assembly has not taken the simple and responsible step of arranging the thorough public hearing that we have sought,” Watson wrote in the op-ed published Monday afternoon. “This is how the culture of sexual assault, harassment and the disempowerment of women persists.”
She also explained how she has turned down all interview requests.
“Since I came forward less than two weeks ago, certain politicians offered to support me if I made it a partisan issue. I refused,” Watson wrote. “Likewise, I have refused to make this a financial issue by suing for compensation. I have refused to make it a law-enforcement issue. Despite nearly 100 offers to be interviewed, I have refused to make my rape a media opportunity.”
Within days of Watson going public, her own past was scrutinized. According to Politico, Maryland court records indicated that an unidentified man took out a restraining order against Watson in July 2008. In a petition for the restraining order, the man said Watson “was detaining me against my will … [and] not letting me leave” a vacation home in Corolla, N.C., and “dented the trunk” of his vehicle with her fist. Watson was also accused of showing up at the man’s house saying “she was going to kill herself” and sending “threatening text messages.”
The court apparently took the allegations seriously enough to grant the temporary restraining order.
Watson’s lawyer, Nancy Erika Smith, said it was a seven-day court order and that Watson “was not in the courtroom and did not know about the proceedings or have an opportunity to be heard.” She also said the man “abandoned the effort after hearing from Ms. Watson’s lawyer.” Smith also claimed the dispute was about $2,000 that was owed to Watson. Other than that, the nature of Watson’s relationship with the man was not immediately disclosed.
“The man who filed the request for the order did not respond to a request for comment for this story, nor did Fairfax through his office,” Politico reported.
In the op-ed for the Washington Post, Watson wrote, “I told my story, and in a single week my life was probed, exposed, examined and picked over. This is what women who come forward know to expect, and to fear. Few rape victims do come forward. The rapists shake free what soon becomes just a slight taint, and they move on.”
Lastly, she said she was “frustrated by calls for an investigation rather than a public hearing into these matters. Such ‘investigation’ are secret proceedings, out of the public eye, leaving victims vulnerable to selective leaks and smears. And we all know how such investigations end: with ‘inconclusive results.’ My privacy has already been violated, yet I am still willing to testify publicly under oath. Tyson has made the same offer. Our plea to the Virginia General Assembly to require the same of Fairfax has been met with inaction.”
Watson alleged Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke University in 2000, according to a report from the Washington Post. Watson’s claim came less than a week after Vanessa Tyson said Fairfax forced her to give him oral sex during the summer of 2004.
Watson also claimed former NBA player and Fox Sports analyst Corey Maggette, who played at Duke for one year from 1998 to 1999, raped her, too.
Fairfax has denied both Tyson’s and Watson’s claims. Maggette has also denied Watson’s accusations.