HOUSTON – With a second woman now accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, many people are questioning why the claims are surfacing now instead of at which the time in which they allegedly took place.
But advocates for victims of domestic and sexual violence said there are legitimate reasons why people do not come forward in the immediate aftermath of an incident.
"There are very legitimate reasons why people don't come forward -- because they feel ashamed because they feel it's their fault," said Emilee Dawn Whitehurst, president and CEO of the Houston Area Women's Center.
The New Yorker reports that Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale, said she remembers Kavanaugh exposing himself to her at a drunken party in a college dorm party.
Kavanaugh denies the claim, writing, in part, "this alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. This is a smear, plain and simple."
"A major barrier is that, when survivors come forward, they get blamed. Their character is called into question. They are not believed," Whitehurst said.
Democrats want to delay the hearing, scheduled for Thursday, with Kavanaugh's first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and are calling for a full investigation of both claims.
But several Senate Republicans want to hear testimony only from Ford and then hold the confirmation vote for Kavanaugh.