Man­age­ment con­sul­tant and usabil­i­ty expert Can­dace Faber has accused Wash­ing­ton State Sen­a­tor Joe Fain of rap­ing her eleven years ago in a series of tweets after watch­ing Dr. Chris­tine Blasey Ford describe being sex­u­al­ly assault­ed by Brett Kavanaugh front of the Sen­ate Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee ear­li­er today.

“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,” she wrote.

“So okay, let’s do it,” she con­tin­ued. “Sen­a­tor Fain, you raped me the night I grad­u­at­ed from George­town in 2007. Then you had the audac­i­ty to ask me to sup­port your cam­paign. I’ve been ter­ri­fied of run­ning into you since mov­ing home and see­ing your name every­where. I’m done being silent.”

“I’m done play­ing games in my head of how I’d react if I ran into you at a social or polit­i­cal event,” she added in a sub­se­quent tweet. “I’m done leav­ing rooms when your name is men­tioned. I’m done being scared.”

Faber has pre­vi­ous­ly writ­ten about her sex­u­al assault (warn­ing: lan­guage), but chose not to name her assailant. That changed today after the lat­est Kavanauigh hearing.

“It was a deci­sion I made in the moment,” she explained on Medi­um.

“How­ev­er, it feels like a deci­sion I have been build­ing up to for a long time. Over the past sev­er­al years, I have spo­ken with many peo­ple and writ­ten pub­licly about the details of my sex­u­al assault. Until recent­ly, I with­held my rapist’s name, even in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions. I hoped that I could help change the cul­ture of sex­u­al assault with­out need­ing to say his name. I no longer believe that to be the case.”

“We can­not heal with­out accountability.”

Fain, who rep­re­sents the 47th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict, is an impor­tant fig­ure in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus, serv­ing as floor leader. In the past leg­isla­tive ses­sion, he broke repeat­ed­ly with his own par­ty to sup­port bills to advance pro­gres­sive caus­es, includ­ing the repeal of the death penalty.

Fain denies that he ever assault­ed Faber, and is call­ing for an investigation.

While we believe Faber and com­mend her for her courage, we agree with Gov­er­nor Inslee and Sen­ate lead­er­ship that there ought to be an inves­ti­ga­tion by law enforce­ment. We hope Faber will file a police report. Elect­ed lead­ers like Fain can of course be held account­able in the court of pub­lic opin­ion, but this alleged crime deserves to inves­ti­gat­ed and, if pos­si­ble, pros­e­cut­ed in a court of law.

Faber’s friend Sol Vil­lare­al offered a mes­sage of sup­port fol­low­ing Faber’s tweet­storm.

“I’m for­tu­nate to count Can­dace Faber as a friend,” Vil­lare­al said.

“She told me years ago that Joe Fain had raped her the night she grad­u­at­ed from George­town, and we’ve talked about it many times since then. I believed you then, Can­dace, and I believe you now.”

Fain is seek­ing a third term in the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate this year.

In his pre­vi­ous two cam­paigns for the Sen­ate (2010 and 2014), Fain ben­e­fit­ed from a favor­able polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment for Repub­li­cans. From 2006 to 2010, the 47th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict was rep­re­sent­ed exclu­sive­ly by Democ­rats, but in 2010, Fain defeat­ed Clau­dia Kauff­man to become the dis­tric­t’s sen­a­tor, while Mark Har­grove defeat­ed Geoff Simp­son to become one of the dis­tric­t’s two representatives.

(The dis­tric­t’s oth­er rep­re­sen­ta­tive is Pat Sul­li­van, the House Major­i­ty Leader, who is one of the most senior Democ­rats in the Legislature.)

Fain’s 2010 vic­to­ry over Kauff­man deprived the Leg­is­la­ture of one of its most ground­break­ing leg­is­la­tors. Kauff­man was the first Native Amer­i­can woman ever to be elect­ed to the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, and was a cham­pi­on for indige­nous Wash­ing­to­ni­ans. While in office, she spon­sored leg­is­la­tion to cer­ti­fy teach­ers of native lan­guages and cul­ture and expand the Native Amer­i­can Schol­ar­ship Endowment.

This year, Fain does not have the ben­e­fit of a Repub­li­can tail­wind. He faces Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Mona Das, a small busi­ness own­er. In the Top Two elec­tion held last month, Das held Fain to under 54% of the vote.

Hav­ing fin­ished less than 2,500 votes behind Fain in Round One, Das was already well posi­tioned to com­pete with Fain in the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion before the events of today. Now, the con­test in the 47th will like­ly become even more competitive.

It’s a night­mare sce­nario for Repub­li­cans, who are already strug­gling to hold onto sev­er­al oth­er Sen­ate seats around the state. Democ­rats are look­ing to knock out Mark Milos­cia in the 30th and Doug Erick­sen in the 42nd, while cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the retire­ments of Michael Baum­gart­ner in the 5th and Jan Angel in the 26th.

If Democ­rats win all those races plus the 47th with­out los­ing any of their own, they’d gain a total of five seats, increas­ing their Sen­ate major­i­ty from twen­ty-five to thirty.

As the assault Faber describes took place in the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, which is under fed­er­al juris­dic­tion, it will need to be inves­ti­gat­ed by the author­i­ties there. We hope that inves­ti­ga­tion can be swift­ly ini­ti­at­ed in the inter­ests of justice.

POSTSCRIPT: KUOW’s Syd­ney Brown­stone has pub­lished a well writ­ten, exten­sive­ly researched sto­ry about Faber’s trau­ma which is worth read­ing.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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