Local Sexual Assault Activists and Legal Experts Weigh in on Kavanaugh Controversy

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Sexual misconduct accusations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh are already becoming a teaching moment at Drake University. It's a topic first year law students say they will keep a close eye on this week.

"I think it's always its good to pay attention when women make these kinds of allegations," says student, Adam Brewster.

On Sunday, Christine Blasey Ford revealed her identity to the Washington Post. Democrats have been aware of the claim for weeks. Ford says Kavanaugh drunkenly held her down and tried to remover her clothes at a party when they were in high school. Kavanuagh denies the allegation.

At the center of the #MeToo era, legal experts say the allegations cannot be ignored and will likely open up a can of worms. Sally Frank, a women's rights law professor at Drake University, predicts whatever lies ahead will get messy.

"I think is going to be a strong effort to find any dirt on the victim," she says. "On the other hand their may be other people to see if there are other victims that may step forward accusing Kavanaugh."

Critics are calling the timing of the accusations strange, just days ahead of the nomination vote. Others believe it was potential strategic political move. The Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault says the timing of the allegations is not a political one but an emotional one.

"For survivors in this situation where the people that have harmed them have very public and high-profile professions, it's really about a need for the to disclose the information. Not a need to throw dirt or garbage out to the public," says executive director, Kerri True - Funk.

Activists add, victims can be triggered by seeing or hearing their assailants picture or name repeatedly. Experts say victims often share their stories years later depending on how quickly they move forward from the incident. They stress the length of time since the incident does not weaken the validity of the accusation.

Frank says the accusation remind her of Anita Hill's sexual harassment allegations against Justice Clarence Thomas 27 - years - ago. She fears the outcome of the Kavanaugh controversy will send the same why, with the accuser being treated as if she was the one being accused.

"The worst case scenario would be them essentially putting her on trial and making fun of her, demeaning her and scaring other women from coming forward."

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence is calling for political leaders to investigate the matter and postpone the nomination vote.